The September 27th Eye on DNA notes why some, or many, have fears or at least second thoughts, about having a whole genome scan done.
It’s one thing to be tested for a specific genetic mutation because you’re at high risk due to family history or other clinical indicators. It’s another thing to get a whole genome scan to highlight areas that may or may not cause you problems in the future depending on your lifestyle, environmental exposures, and level of impact conferred by the gene.
A whole genome scan could provide one with more information than one wants or knows what to do with—-might any genetic test provide more information than we know what to do with, and how to understand? There is currently no known genetic test for autism. Some 30 to 100 genes have been identified as associated with autism. As an article in the February 2007 Nature Genetics notes,
autism has “numerous genetic origins rather than a single or a few primary causes” (such as a vaccine or something in a vaccine).
Advocates of a causal link between vaccines or something (such as mercury) in vaccines and autism continue to call for more studies about rates of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children; they tend to disregard and even to dismiss genetic influences. Is there some fear of what genetic testing might find—-that there is a little autism, or some aspect of some of the features of autism, in parents, family members, and relatives of autistic children? That there is something in us autism parents that has contributed to our child’s becoming autistic?