True Identity: Discovering your roots – and risk

By Ben Cathey
What if you could discover your risk of Alzheimer’s or if your wife is a carrier for a devastating birth defect. Would you, like me, want to know? Or is ignorance bliss?

“What are you looking for, and how will you make sense of the results?” UT’s Dr. Shahna Arps wants to make sure potential customers are ready for what they might discover.

“Is it going to impact their decision on how to have a family? Or maybe there’s we can really do about that information, and maybe they don’t want to know that,” Kelly Morse from ProMedica’s Cancer Institute said.
Before having kids, I did want to know potential diseases I could pass on to my children. Turns out, I’m not alone. So, we went looking for answers about why these tests are more popular than ever.

“Identifying relatives, family members, people who share common ancestors with them,” Dr. Arps explained.
Ancestry’s DNA test has over four million customers and 23andme claims over two million.
“There is a lot of popular interest in the potential for these kinds of tests,” Dr. Arps said.
Even University of Toledo anthropologist Dr. Shahna Arps wanted her ancestry on paper.
“I actually received a kit for Christmas and I sent in my test tube, but the response I received was that I didn’t have DNA in the test tube,” Dr. Arps said with a laugh.
Now for the test: it comes in an easy to use box, and importantly for me, there’s no blood and no needles. After snapping a tube into place and finding a lot of spit, it’s time to ship it off.
“We’re all a lot alike when it comes to our DNA,” Dr. Arps explained.
“When it comes to actionable medical information, that’s where we really want to be a little more clear on really what it is, and what it is not,” Morse said.
ProMedica senior genetic counselor Kelly Morse wanted to make sure I didn’t dwell or rely too much on the carrier and medical results……
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Source: 13ABC