A new study will now make it possible for parents to know whether their child is genetically predisposed to certain diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
An advancement in technology called whole genome sequencing takes a small amount of blood or saliva, and with the information stored in the DNA sample, analyzes it for risks of developing diseases and to diagnose active symptoms.
Research by the University of Michigan, published in this month’s issue of Public Health Genomics, surveyed more than 2,000 people and found that 58% of parents and non-parents were willing to have their children’s DNA analyzed.
“As genome sequencing becomes faster and cheaper, we expect the technology to become used more frequently in clinics and the private market. We wanted to know what kind of factors influenced patient demand for this test, especially among parents," said senior author of the study Dr. Beth Tarini.
Nearly 62% of parents said they’d be interested in a complete DNA read for themselves and 58% of parents were interested for their children.
It was also discovered that adults planning to have children in the next five years have greater interest in genome sequencing. The numbers, however, were not significant among those who already had children.
Authors of the study speculate that this could be because parents who already have a healthy child may have their “minds at ease concerning their own genetic makeup” compared to non-parents.
Sources: March 10, 2015. "Want to Know Your Child’s Potential Risk for Diseases — Years Before a Diagnosis?". parents.com March 10, 2015. "Whole genome sequencing may help identify disease risks". news-medical.net
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