The Path to Reading a Newborn’s DNA Map

What if laboratories could run comprehensive DNA tests on infants at birth, spotting important variations in their genomes that might indicate future medical problems? Should parents be told of each variation, even if any risk is still unclear? Would they even want to know?

New parents needn’t confront these difficult questions just yet. The more than four million babies born in 2014 in the United States will likely be screened in traditional ways — by public health programs that check for sickle cell anemiaand several dozen other serious, treatable conditions. So far, DNA-based tests of infants play only a small part in screening.

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