DNA Test Could Save Your Life

Carole Kushnir took an at-home DNA test because she wanted to find out more about her genetic makeup. The results of the test were shocking. She found her chances of developing cancer were quite high. A DNA test helped Karen Durrett find her father. It also helped her find out about a potentially life threatening condition.

Tests for Health Risks & Genetic Traits

It is estimated that 180,000 people have had parts of their DNA analyzed by 23andMe, which is the largest private genomics company in the world. This company helps people find out about more than 200 health risks and genetic traits.

This company is based in California. The number of people using this company is expected to increase drastically because a testing kit now only costs $99. The company was able to sell a lot of kits during Christmas. Anne Wojciki, who is the co-founder of 23andMe, is hoping that sales will hit one million by the end of the year. Anne Wojciki is the wife of Sergey Brin, who is a Google entrepreneur.

Controversey With DNA Tests

Even though at–home DNA tests have grown in popularity, they have also became a subject of controversy. These tests allow people to learn more about their genetic makeup. It also helps them protect their offspring from genetic conditions that run in the family.

Geneticists, doctors and bio-ethicists are among the people who are opposed to at-home genetic testing. They fear that people who take these tests will have information that they are not able to interpret. Opponents of at-home genetic testing also believe that these tests will cause people to have false assurances and unnecessary health fears.

Helen Wallace, who is the director of GeneWatch UK, has also expressed her concerns about at-home genetic tests. She believes that since these tests are unregulated, a lot of the information that people get is unreliable. Wallace also believes that many people are not prepared for the surprises that they may receive.

Kushnir’s Story

Kushnir believes that these concerns are overblown. She believes that it is absurd to say that experts are the only ones who can handle this type of information. Kushnir took an at home DNA test last year and found out that she was at an increased risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer. She has followed up with a cancer specialist. She has had her ovaries removed and has recommended at home genetic testing to many of her family members.

Durrett took a genetic test and found that man she called daddy her entire life was not her biological father. She also found out that she had breast cancer. Durrett was able to locate her father and meet her half-sister. She also underwent two lumpectomies and radiation treatment for breast cancer. Durrett stated that she has glad that she took the test because the cancer would have spread if she would have waited.

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