Cheaper genetic testing—which can cost only $1,000 and some saliva—recently inspired one New York Times scribe to check out her own DNA. She sent a sample to a start-up company, one of three in the field, and waited. But she had reservations: What if she was prone to breast cancer, or Alzheimer's? Or passing on bad genes to her daughter? And what if an insurance company used the info against her?
Turned out, her numbers were mostly good—but could have been devastating. To ease possible pain, one company has vowed to offer counseling with its service, while others will give referrals. And insurance companies promised her they'd play nice—for now. Which left the relieved writer wondering if she wanted the DNA of her 3-year-old. No, she decided, “because I didn’t want to regard anything about her as predestined.”