My next couple of posts are going to be looking at prenatal genetic testing. One of my biggest concerns about the plethora of new genetic testing becoming available is that we still understand so little of how all this coded information in DNA works. It’s easy to say “this gene causes that problem”, but more often than not it is quite a bit more complicated than that. When people have genetic testing done, they must be helped to understand that, yes, they may have the gene commonly associated with problem X, but we cannot say for certain that they will ever develop problem x. Understanding epigenetics and how gene expression is regulated can help us understand why a particular genetic test finding might not mean what it appears to mean on the surface.
In fact, maybe we should slow down on widely offering new genetic tests until we better understand what it is the test means.
From Nature Video:
Also check out this article on epigenetics: Simmons, D. (2008) Epigenetic influence and disease. Nature Education. 1(1):6
and one more video, from SciShow: