New Science Casts Doubt on Gene Tests

From the Calgary Herald: Canadian discovery raises questions about gene studies

Scientists in Montreal have discovered that not all human cells are identical, a surprising observation that could turn genetic research upside down.

For years, scientists have worked on the assumption that, when it comes to DNA, every cell in the body is essentially similar to every other cell.

But the results of a study published in the July issue of the journal Human Mutation show there are major genetic differences between blood and tissue cells….

My question: how will Personal Genomics companies like 23andMe, Navigenics, etc., respond to this news? This new discover seems to imply that the standard methods those companies use to gather genetic samples may be fundamentally flawed.

So, will they suspend service until they understand the issue better? Should they? Of course, I’m not a geneticist — so maybe I’m over-stating the significance of this new bit of science. But then the question is, will Personal Genomics companies (who do, after all, employ geneticists) explain to the purchasing public the extent to which this new finding is-or-isn’t relevant to their services?

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About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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One Response to New Science Casts Doubt on Gene Tests

  1. Pingback: Canada to Gene Testers: Come On In! | Biotech Ethics

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