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Testing Genetic Quandaries At The Drugstore; Kit Scans For Likelihood Of Ailments; Critics Fear Harmful Domino Effect

Publication Date: 
May 11, 2010
Source: 
The Washington Post
Author: 
Rob Stein

Professor Hank Greely voices concerns over selling over-the-counter genetic test kits at local drugstores. Rob Stein of The Washington Post filed this story:

Beginning Friday, shoppers in search of toothpaste, deodorant and laxatives at more than 6,000 drugstores across the nation will be able to pick up something new: a test to scan their genes for a propensity for Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments.

The test also claims to offer a window into the chances of becoming obese, developing psoriasis and going blind. For those thinking of starting a family, it could alert them to their risk of having a baby with cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs and other genetic disorders. The test also promises users insights into how caffeine, cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood thinners might affect them.

...

"It is reckless," said Hank Greely, director of Stanford University's Center for Law and the Biosciences. "Information is powerful, but misunderstood information can be powerfully bad."