In this week's Nature, a trio of animal science experts sounds off on the business of genomic testing for pets, warning that data from such tests may not be accurate or particularly useful. In a comment piece, the researchers warn that the majority of genetic tests for dogs are based on insufficiently validated science, yield imprecise results, and remain largely unregulated. Among their recommendations are the establishment of standards for testing, guidelines on how tests are used, and the sharing of data among industry, academia, and government agencies. "Done right, the use of genetic testing in companion animals could be a powerful way to better connect people to the possibilities of genetics for treating disease," they write.
And in Nature Genetics, an international team of researchers reports the discovery of novel genetic variants associated with educational attainment, including ones involved in brain development and neuron-to-neuron communication. The researchers performed a genetic association analysis of educational attainment in a group of roughly 1.1 million people, uncovering 1,271 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs. Further investigation revealed genetic associations for traits such as test performance and math ability. The scientists warn that their study has certain key limitations, however, including a lower predictive power in a sample of African Americans and, likely, samples of other individuals of non-European ancestry. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.