Stanford Follows Berkeley on Student DNA Tests

June 8, 2010

Just weeks after the University of California, Berkeley made national headlines by asking incoming undergraduates to submit genetic samples for an orientation program about the emerging field of personalized medicine, Bay Area rival Stanford University said Monday that it will offer DNA analysis to some of its students this summer.

Unlike at Berkeley, though, the project will be limited to medical and graduate students enrolled in the School of Medicine's summer session elective "Genetics 210: Genomics and Personalized Medicine." Faculty and administrators anticipate that about 50 students will sign up for the course, which was approved only after months of debate and the assurance that several precautionary measures would be taken.

The course will run for eight weeks, meeting once a week. After the second class, students will decide whether to have their own DNA tested and will get to decide whether they would like the sample to be processed by Navigenics or 23andMe, the two companies licensed to perform the tests in California. They will be asked to pay $99 for the test, so that they seriously consider any decisions they make.

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