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What It's Like

Elena Flowers, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco's School of Nursing, noticed an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer genetic tests and tells CBS SF that she decided to look into whether her students would be ready to deal with patients coming in with result from such tests.

"Direct-to-consumer genetic tests, and whole genome sequencing is about to be in their clinical practice," she says.

After getting funding, Flowers sent her own DNA off for whole-genome sequencing and tells CBS SF that she anxiously waited for the results. While she says her results didn't include anything worrisome, she notes that the report she received wasn't easy to understand.

Flowers adds that diseases are complex and, aside from genes, the environment, a person's lifestyle, and other factors also influences whether someone becomes ill. For most diseases, she says that a gene mutation only says something about a person's risk of disease — it doesn't mean that person is going to develop that disease.

"They tell us about the risk for disease, but they don't give us the diagnosis and they don't guarantee that a patient is going to develop a disease," Flowers says.

The Scan

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