Genetic Testing Coming to a Walgreens Near You

Personal genetic testing in the Wild West stage

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, May 12, 2010  |  Updated 3:06 PM PDT
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Genetic Testing Coming to a Walgreens Near You

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Personal genetic testing soon to be as ubiquitous as Walgreens, though industry is still very, very lightly regulated.

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The Wild West world of personal genetic testing is set to get a little wilder, as California's Pathway Genomics has announced that it will be selling its saliva-sample kits at Walgreens stores for less than $30.

Actual tests will cost much more, with testing for ancestry or potential health risk factors available a la carte.

Such personal genetic tests are not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and physicians have expressed skepticism that such tests are accurate, effective and, most importantly, easily understandable.

For instance, it's relatively rare that a genetic marker has been specifically found to be the cause of an illness. Most studies simply find a probable correlation between a gene sequence and the higher incidence of a condition in a population.

Not that it will stop your "House"-loving friend who's diagnosed themselves with everything from fibromyalgia to celiac disease based on extended Internet "research" from taking the test and becoming convinced they'll soon be suffering from Parkinson's tremors.

Even a Pathway spokesperson admits, "The tests conducted are not an in-vitro medical device and are not intended for use in diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or cure of disease."

So, basically, it's a vanity test for the self-involved to have something about themselves to share with others at parties. Fun!

Jackson West would be willing to write a stunt article for your publication about taking the test for a small fee plus expenses.

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