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Company to Sell Genetic Test
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- Subject: Company to Sell Genetic Test
- From: Connie Sadler <SADLER_C@HOSP.STANFORD.EDU>
- Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 13:01:55 -0800 (PST)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Even as evidence of discrimination based on
individuals' genetic makeups arises, a company announced yesterday that
it soon will sell the most comprehensive genetic test yet to predict
The $2,400 test is the latest entry in a race to bring to consumers
the rapid discoveries of disease-causing genes, even though patients
are struggling with the ramifications of learning they have such genes
when there's little they can do about it.
A study published in today's edition of the journal Science found
that some 47 percent of people asked on health insurance applications
about genetic diseases were subsequently rejected for coverage.
"This is what genetics is all about right now, this contrast between
rapid and exciting advances that carry enormous promise to alleviate
suffering... and yet the potential for this information to be used in
ways that injure people," warned Dr. Francis Collins, chief of the
federal Human Genome Project. Collins is a critic of selling gene tests
before doctors understand them better.
The Human Genome Project, the government's massive effort to
identify the body's 80,000 to 100,000 genes, is trying to bridge that
gap, spending $8 million next year alone to study the ethical and
social implications of genetics research.
Scientists already have found genes that, when mutated, can cause
everything from cancer to Alzheimer's disease. And some laboratories
are quietly offering tests to indicate whether now-healthy Americans
could get those killer illnesses decades in the future.