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Rewriting Life

Mail-Order Genetic Screening

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.

Credit: Joshua Scott

This story is part of our July/August 2008 Issue
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Product: Health Compass

Cost: $2,500 for the initial test; $250 a year for continued consultation

Source: www.navigenics.com

Company: Navigenics

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