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Firm Brings Gene Tests to Masses

by Andrew Pollack,  New York Times,  Jan 28, 2010
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A Silicon Valley start-up is making the bold claim that it can help eradicate that disease and more than 100 others by alerting parents-to-be who have the carrier genes.

The company, Counsyl, is selling a test that it says can tell couples whether they are at risk of having children with a range of inherited diseases, including cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, spinal muscular atrophy, sickle cell disease and Pompe disease (the one afflicting the children in the movie).

Once informed, Counsyl says, couples can take steps like using in vitro fertilization with genetic testing of the embryos, to avoid bearing children who would have the diseases, many of which are incurable and fatal in childhood.

Some genetic testing of prospective parents is done now, but only for a few diseases like cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs, and only for certain ethnic groups. Each test can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Read more.


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