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Genetic Linkage

Does the ‘genetics revolution’ unsettle you? Here is a guide, and reasons to be hopeful

It's that time of year again — an avalanche of ads urging us to drool into tubes so companies can spit back verdicts on our pasts, presents, and futures. Judging from my emails, those unceasing ads have inspired many questions about genetics in general.

 

Among the emails that pinged in recently:

 

  • A pediatrician sent lists of the gene variants found in her own in vitro-fertilized embryos. Which should she implant?
  • How reliable are pharmacogenetic tests to select the most effective anti-depressant?
  • "Have you seen anything on the horizon for a gene therapy for a chromosomal unbalanced translocation?" (No. A gene and a chromosome are different entities and targets.)
  • Would I write about a man's invention of a $100 genome sequencer? Review a book? Lend my image and name to a DNA-data-interpreting company? Consider a job as a gene variant curator?

So I started a list of my e-mails, with apologies to Hillary, and extracted three recurring themes: transgender identity, when a human life begins, and by far the largest group: interpreting DNA test results, either consumer or clinical.

 

To continue reading, go to Genetic Literacy Project, where this post first appeared.

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