ANCHOR LEAD: SHOULD YOU HAVE A GENETIC ANALYSIS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
At least three genetic testing companies are advertising their services directly to consumers, purporting to give the latest information on one’s genetic risk of cancer and a host of other diseases. But does the scientific community really have enough information to make such assertions? Nicolas Katsanis, a genetics researcher at Johns Hopkins, says no.
KATSANIS: I have concerns, and I think we all should have concerns. In theory, this is the golden goal of genetics. We want to be able to predict causality and susceptibility to disease, especially complex disease. However, until we’re able to interpret this information, I have grave concerns about delivering this information, and even worse, misinforming the public in that regard. :25
Katsanis says that most genetic testing is capable of giving probabilities only, and that a genetic counselor should be on hand for correct interpretation. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.