Genetic Testing

Here's a genetic test I may consider recommending

A mother with Rh- blood who gives birth to an Rh+ infant may potentially develop antibodies to the Rh factor, and the resulting antibodies could cause considerable risk to the next developing fetus. To counteract such a situation, mothers who are Rh- and have an Rh+ mate are traditionally treated at delivery to prevent the development of the Rh antibodies.

The report of an article (Finning K et al. BMJ, 2008;10:1136) in the British Medical Journal describes the study of a new, non-invasive genetic test for the Rh status of a developing fetus. It uses "cell-free fetal DNA present in the maternal blood." The test, according to the report, had a 95.7% success rate when results were compared with the actual blood group tested at birth. False negatives (identifying an Rh+ fetus as Rh-) were "below 0.2% (3 out of approaching 1900 cases)". In these situations, the mother should have been treated but was not. If these mothers were exposed to Rh+ cells from the baby at birth and they became pregnant with another Rh+ fetus, their antibodies might cause a serious hemolytic disease, destroying blood cells in the fetus at or before birth.

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Paternity test in drug store--update

Sometimes I'm more in tune with the day's news than I realize. I checked out a news lead about two hours after my last blog entry and found that MSNBC news is today announcing the expansion of the availability of the "drugstore" paternity test. Here are the links you may follow for more information:

a news article: Who's Your Daddy?

a video: DIY paternity test debuts

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Looking for a genetic test?

Genetic testing may already be available on your drugstore shelf. A prominent chain, whose name does not begin with "Wal", is offering DNA test kits in some markets. These are available in Oregon (according to sales flyers), but not online. I don't know how many states have them, or whom you have to ask in the store to get one.

I am contacting the company to see if they will tell me whose test they use, so I can better judge the quality of the testing offered.

Now, if you live in a small town, you may have to use the ploy people often use in a small town: go to another town to purchase your test kit if you don't want anyone you know to know what you're doing.

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Genetic testing: introduction to ancestry testing

While searching the Net for articles on race and genetics, I came across a link to a cartoon feature that introduces us to ancestry testing using DNA. It includes an introduction and information on maternal and paternal inheritance. Unfortunately, the link to how DNA is mapped no longer exists.

Here's the address: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21443872/

Marie Godfrey, PhD

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A fun story of genetic testing

I'm so often negative about genetic testing--especially the kind available over the Internet--that I have wanted to give you readers a more positive outlook. So, here's a piece from the Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, Louisiana. I've included almost all of the article here--without permission--because I so appreciate Jan Risher's style. Her atricle is titled, Long Story Short: DNA gives grandmother's tales a little more weight. Here's the story:

. . . Lydia Myrene Henderson Risher Turman was a seamstress extraordinaire. She was also my grandmother. These days, she would be lauded as a shabby chic innovator, but when I was a kid, it was more like an old lady with grand ideas going through junk. But, she couldn't help it. She simply loved transforming cast-off items into something she considered beautiful.

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PGD for Cancer Survivors

Eighteen years ago, when our scientists pioneered preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), it was widely understood how it could help very desperate couples build their healthy families. Today, we are able to test for essentially any identified genetic mutation. There are a number of genetic mutations specific to various types of cancer. By using PGD, we can dramatically decrease the risk of a couple passing on the defective genes specific to the cancer.

Families who know they are at heightened risk of passing along genetic diseases to their offspring weigh their reproductive choices carefully. PGD is one of several options and allows us to test for hundreds of mutations. With respect to defective cancer genes, we currently test for:

| read more | dotwinney's blog

Genetic testing--who benefits?

This morning I viewed yet another advertisement for a "new" genetic testing company. I wondered once again, "who benefits from this free advertising?'

The national morning news program touted this as an example of the way to investigate your genetic future. By simply spitting into a plastic cup and sending the sample to Company A, you can learn who and what you are now and what you will be in the future.

For once, the presentation was more factual than hype. Many statements were qualified by providing some idea of their limitations. For example, when asked how accurate these tests were, the company representatives stated the tests were very, very accurate. This is true. As DNA chips for analysis become more refined, false negatives and positives for specific SNPs (the very small portion of DNA being tested in a single "spot" of the test) are more closely known--but did the company representative give a number for accuracy? No; nor was any definition of accuracy given. Nor was there any discussion of whether SNP #18754638836 accurately predicts condition XORIRUEJGKLERUI.

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Use your rebate for a genetic test?

Are you considering using your rebate from the US government to buy a genetic test? Even if you get only $300, you could purchase a gender test to determine whether that new baby will be a boy or girl.

Or can you?

Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, reported February 24, 2008 on the results found by one family when they had a gender test conducted.

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Genetic testing--Free??

The opera was great last night, Handel's Rodelinda. I continue to thank a friend in Italy for introducing me to the wonders of opera; I always thought it was just fancy singing.

Anyway, back to words. Yesterday, I started with a quote from Elisa Doolittle in My Fair Lady because I had been searching for information on the company offering free genetic testing and got lost in words. The three words I focused on were geneVIEW, wellness360, and flexSCAN. As far as I can tell--I'm waiting for more answers from the company itself--geneVIEW is the program for genetic testing offered by the company flexSCAN as part of its wellness360 program.

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Free genetic testing

"Words, words, words . . . I'm so sick of words . . . is that all you blickers can do?" says the learning lady in My Fair Lady. Biologists, specifically geneticists, are often accused of using too many words to explain things. Much of science appears to be jargon--language specific to a science and understood by those "in the know" and oft-quoted without understanding by those "outside".

So, what does the word free mean to you? Without cost, having no monetary requirement, a gimmick, a come-on, what's the catch?

Yesterday, a company called flexSCAN, Inc. announced that it will begin offering comprehensive genetic testing free of charge to anyone visiting the www.geneview.com website. I heard about it from another member of geneforum and rushed to check it out. No, I haven't enrolled to get the newsletter or activate the free offer--after all I have not decided what I would do with the results of a genetic test if I did have one--but, I did read the well-written and clear privacy policy. Here's the portion on genetic testing:

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