Genetic testing scans DNA for genetic variants related to, eg, disease, ancestry and looks. The decision to be tested is a biggie. Could you take being told you have an above average chance of, say, getting Alzheimer’s or going blind?
It’s thought that Melanoma skin cancer is caused by an inherited faulty gene in only a few cases. But still you’re more likely to contract it if, like Katherine, you have the genetic trait of pale skin that burns easily.
Lupus is an incurable disease where the immune system attacks normal tissue. You’re up to 12% more likely to get it if there’s a family history, so Katherine might carry an inherited ‘Lupus gene’.
Cancer may run in your family if, eg, there are several cancers of the same type or several cases of rare cancers. But don't panic: only 5-10 percent of cancers are thought to be caused by faulty inherited genes.
Genetics Development December 2008: Britain’s first baby screened to be ‘breast cancer gene’-free is due.
Genetics Development June 08: Scientists find evidence of an association between Lupus and certain gene mutations.
Katherine Ryan: who she? She's an award winning comedian. If only she had some kind of, y'know, website. Hang on a minute...