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To date, 180,000 people have offered their DNA to the largest genetic testing firm in the world that goes by the name of 23andMe. This company is capable of performing a DNA test on a total of 200 different genetic markers. Now that the company has been able to reduce the price of the DNA test to only $99, the company expects the numbers of those who wish to know the secrets hidden in their DNA to increase dramatically.
Over the Christmas season, people purchased DNA tests in droves. Judging by this recent success, the company’s founder Anne Wojcicki believes that she can increase sales of the kits to one million for the year 2013.
The Usefulness of Testing One’s Genes
Some people are wary of home DNA testing, and the controversy has been rising with increasing interest in these DNA test kits. Ms. Wojcicki is a prominent proponent of this type of testing, and she knows first-hand the usefulness of it. Her husband Sergey Brin of Google fame discovered through DNA testing that he has a mutation that often leads to Parkinson’s disease.
Rather than spend a night at their favorite restaurants, ordinary people can learn whether or not they need to seek treatment for a life-threatening illness right away. Or, they can find out that they need to protect their children from something that is hiding in their genetics.
Opponents of DNA testing have very legitimate concerns, and physicians and people in the genetics and ethics industries have been voicing them. These professionals are concerned about the following:
However, this insults the intelligence of some people who have had the test. One of them is Mrs. Kushnir of Silicon Valley. She disagrees that she’s not sophisticated enough to learn the results of a DNA test. She is living in the land of technology and has the wherewithal to learn exactly what she needs to know about what her DNA is trying to tell her.
To submit their DNA for testing, people either take a sample of their saliva or swab their cheeks and send the product to companies such as 23andMe. After performing this ritual, Mrs. Kushnir discovered that she is carrying a gene that puts her at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Her answer was to have her ovaries removed and to encourage other family members to purchase a DNA test for their own use.
Image Credit: RambergMediaImages
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