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Mail-Order Genetic Screening

June 23, 2008

Recent years have seen a flood of studies linking genetic variations to particular diseases, and companies are trying to parlay those discoveries into direct-to-consumer genetic tests. ­Navigenics mails its subscribers containers for saliva samples. When it gets the samples back, it uses microarrays–chips studded with fragments of DNA–to screen the subscribers’ DNA for genetic variations linked to 18 diseases, including Alzheimer’s and colon cancer. Such genetic screening has received little clinical evaluation, however, so whether it helps prevent disease is unclear.

Product: Health Compass
Cost: $2,500 for the initial test; $250 a year for continued consultation
Source: www.navigenics.com
Companies: Navigenics

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