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Wider Screen

A new test from Sema4 examines newborn's genes for evidence of nearly 200 genetic diseases, Technology Review reports. It adds that the $649 test isn't covered by insurance.

Sema4 spun out of the Mount Sinai Health System last year to provide genetic tests available at Mount Sinai to a nationwide population, as GenomeWeb reported at the time. It added that the new company was to focus on newborn screening, noninvasive prenatal testing, and carrier testing, as well as cancer panel testing

Sema4 CEO Eric Schadt tells Tech Review that the test is a supplement to current standard newborn screening for parents who want additional information about their baby's health. Xconomy adds that all the conditions the Sema4 test, called Natalis, looks at — they include spinal muscular atrophy and pediatric cancers — have treatments.

"If you can, at birth, canvass some of the most common disorders, you get a better understanding of the health of your child," Schadt tells Tech Review. "We think parents want the best for their children and are going to do whatever they can so that their child can have the healthiest life possible."

However, Tech Review notes that such early testing could put parents in a bind if it reveals a variant linked to a condition for which their child has no symptoms.

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