Would You Want to Know?

We at 23andMe hear this question a lot when the topic of personal genetic testing comes up.

We each have our own answer, but enterprising PBS NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michaels simply went out and asked.   It’s helpful to hear from people on both sides of the issue about why they would or wouldn’t want to know about their genetic risks for certain illnesses.

The short segment accompanied a broader discussion on the show about a study by Kaiser Permanente and UC San Francisco that combines genetic and health records of patients at the HMO. The hope is that the study will shed new light on the genetic causes for disease. Unlike the work done by 23andMe where customers have access to their data, participants in the Kaiser study do not get access to their genetic data.

For many of us, having that access gives us the knowledge to make changes that can lessen those risks. The information allows us to take preventative actions or simply to be more aware.