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Stanford students discuss studying their own genotypes

Back in June, the School of Medicine announced a new course that offered medical and graduate students the opportunity to have their personal genotyping done and then to use the data to understand the limitations of the existing technologies and the legal and ethical issues raised by genetic testing.

A story published in the San Francisco Chronicle today discusses the eight-week course and students’ experiences. In the article, Stanford bioinformatics student Konrad Karczewski comments on why he decided to study his own genotype data:

More knowledge is always better. I fully understood the implications of this test because I have a genetics background. It’s important to remember that these predictions are not a diagnosis. It doesn’t mean you are or aren’t getting the disease. But you’re aware that there’s a risk early on, you can get screening and read up on prevention.

Overall, 33 students in the class of 60 participated opted for personal genotyping. Ten others analyzed their genetic background using commercial services before the class. Free genetic counseling was offered to all students.

A School of Medicine task force will determine if the course will be offered in the future.

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