Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
December 13th, 2012
09:48 AM ET

TIME cover story explores genetic testing: risk or cure? TIME Deputy Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs: 'knowledge...that makes this such a confounding problem'

Genetic testing can offer parents vital medical information about their children's health, telling them if their kids are pre-disposed to certain diseases, and allowing them to be forewarned and forearmed. But it also poses certain risks. Parents can receive ambiguous results, possible misinformation, and threats that may never materialize. And the results may not even lead to a cure.

TIME Magazine’s new cover story, "Want to Know My Future?" explores that dual dynamic and the risks to genetic testing on kids to determine their fate. It weighs the complexities of testing with all the physical, emotional and even financial factors involved. TIME's Deputy Managing Editor, Nancy Gibbs, comes to “Starting Point” with more on the interesting cover.

Gibbs explains that “right now, doctors can test for about 2,500 medical conditions, but they only can treat about 500 of those.” The question she poses is, “so what do you do with the knowledge about the others?” This is the current dilemma.

TIME’s cover story profiles one mother, in particular, who discovers her own risk of cancer through screening her daughter for the causes of her developmental delays. “So, it’s the knowledge that you’re not looking for and may not be able to cope with that makes this such a confounding problem,” Gibbs says.

Gibbs also explains the costs behind testing. “So the original decoding of the genome cost $2.7 billion," she says. "You can now do a whole genome sequencing for about $7,500. And it’s getting cheaper all the time. And even more so, for $99 you can find out your risk for about 200 of the most commonon medical conditions.”

Posted by
Filed under: Genetic Testing • TIME
soundoff (No Responses)

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.