Test Your Genes For $99, If You Want To

I’m a big fan of preventative medicine. I’ve watched enough members of my family struggle with diabetes and heart disease to know that I’d rather avoid the diseases altogether than try to manage them. And I think that taking care of your body is a good idea always, not just when there’s something wrong with it. Preventative care is growing more popular among doctors and healthcare professionals nowadays, but will genetic testing soon be a part of it?

The genetics testing company 23andMe thinks that it might. The company now offers genetic testing for $99, down from $299 just a year ago. While spending $99 on a test is definitely not within everyone’s budget, it does put the procedure in the realm of possibility for a not insubstantial number of people. 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki, told Salon that “At $99, we are opening the doors of access….Genetics is part of an entire path for how you’re going to live a healthier life.”

There’s probably a lot of truth to that. Genetics play a role in a huge number of conditions, from Huntington’s to high blood pressure and everything in between, as Angelina Jolie reminded us when she underwent a double mastectomy after learning she tested positive for a gene that increases breast cancer risk. Knowing your genetics is a huge part of knowing your risk factors.

Personally, the idea of getting my genes tested is a little weird, but maybe I’ve been just been watching too much sci fi lately. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think is a great medical advance. Like I said, a lot of the decisions I make about my health are made with my family history in mind. Preventing a disease is always better than treating one, at least in my book. So while I’m not rushing out to test my DNA just yet, I’m glad that plenty of people now have that option.

Even if I am a little nervous I might be in a sci fi movie right now.