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Home Genetics Roundup

August 18, 2006

A government report says genetic tests offered for home use are often not reliable.


Genetic fortune-telling. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Home test kits that analyze your DNA and tell you what diseases are in your future may not be reliable, according to a new government report. Issued by the Government Accountability Office, the report states that while there are valid genetic tests for over a thousand conditions, the tests for home use are far less accurate than those done in a doctor’s office. And they often serve as an inducement to buy various drugs and supplements offered by the company.

In other public health news, watermelons stored at room temperature for two weeks after picking were more nutrutious than those that had been refrigerated. The warm melons had more healthy beta-carotene and lycopenes than the chilly ones. On the other hand, once a melon has been cut, it should definitely be chilled, since the least nutritious melon is a rotten one.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.