A new British company has developed a home DNA test that determines whether customers are genetically predisposed to ailments such as breast cancer, heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis. Users scrape a cheek with a swab, sign a special waiver if they want to know results even for incurable diseases, such as Alzheimer's, and send it off. The results come back in the mail.
How many people have the stomach to find out what congenital diseases might afflict them decades hence? One writer at the Independent does, and she put the new service to the test. Virginia Ironside scraped her cheek with the kit's swab, "feeling rather like Saddam Hussein," and mailed in her cells. Her assessment: an increased risk of high blood pressure. "My only anxiety now," she writes, "is whether I am going to die of anything at all."