Popular Science

Getting your genetic disease risks from 23andme is probably a terrible idea

Ignorance may really be bliss
DNA

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Illuminating your DNA isn't always a good thing...

If you could know whether you were going to develop a debilitating, inevitable, untreatable disease at age 50, would you want to? 23andMe is offering you that opportunity—but they’re not going to ask you that question.

23andMe has handed out genetic information like candy (well, $200 candy) for over a decade without much care as to how their customers handle it. True, most of the time they’re selling pretty innocuous stuff. Do I have the gene that makes me sneeze when I look at the sun? What kind of earwax do I have? Where did my ancestors come from? Those genetic nuggets are easy to digest, and often pretty fun. They probably have little to no impact on your daily life.

But now things are changing. The Food and Drug Administration just ruled that 23andMe—and by extension, other genetic testing companies—can

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