Berkeley to Freshmen: Want a DNA Test?

They'll see how their genes deal with alcohol
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2010 9:37 AM CDT
Berkeley freshmen have the chance to see how risky their genes are.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – UC Berkeley's incoming freshmen have an unusual option this summer: Students can swab their cheeks and send it in for a DNA test that will check for genes that help metabolize alcohol, lactose, and folates. The school is hoping that genetic information will help students live a healthier lifestyle on campus by avoiding alcohol, dairy, or greens if they're ill-disposed toward them.

The test is voluntary and anonymous; only the students will have the code that identifies their sample, the school assures the New York Times. “In the decade ahead, the new genetics is going to penetrate everyday medical practice,” says the dean of biology. “I think it's one of the best things we've done in years.” But bioethicists gripe that it's irresponsible to just post such results online, without any kind of counseling for the students.

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