Publication date: Sep 06, 2019
Now, new genetic tests called -polygenic risk scores” have increased access to genetic risk information for a wide range of conditions.
The newer technology of polygenic risk scores are calculated from hundreds, if not thousands, of genetic markers measured from your DNA at many points on the genome.
These measurements are fed into a formula, based on studying people who do or do not have a condition, to produce a -personalised” genetic risk score.
While researchers are looking at how these tests might be used by doctors to predict type 1 diabetes in newborns, or prescribe the right medications for people with heart disease, companies like 23andme are forging ahead with products that offer polygenic risk scores for diabetes and other conditions to their customer base of over 10 million.
First, polygenic risk scores currently account for only a small proportion of a person’s total genetic risk.
A genetic risk score alone can give a misleading picture of your actual disease risk.
While more research is needed to develop genetic tests that are useful for predicting complex chronic diseases, some companies are forging ahead with genetic risk products of doubtful accuracy.
Companies marketing genetic risk scores might use their own specific formula drawing on different published data to generate the risk predictions they return to their consumers.
But some companies are now offering to calculate polygenic risk scores that allow prospective parents to select embryos that have a lower risk score for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, short stature or low intelligence irrespective of the family history.
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