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Family History DNA Sleuths Run Risk of Uncovering Infertility


A simple DNA test that is available commercially to help people establish their ancestry could in fact disclose male infertility claims a new study from the University of Leicester.

The world renowned Department of Genetics - the UK’s top rated research Genetics department where DNA genetic fingerprinting was discovered - has published a paper, Inadvertent diagnosis of male infertility through genealogical DNA testing, in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

Report author Professor Mark Jobling warns that DNA testing to disclose family history runs the risk of revealing whether or not you can procreate - and he warns commercial companies to steer clear of this level of genetic detail in their genealogical searches.

Professor Jobling said: “More and more people are turning to DNA testing to throw light on their ancestry, or genealogical relationships. Much of this testing is of DNA markers on the Y chromosome in men, and companies are vying with each other to offer more sophisticated tests with more and more markers.

“However, some of these markers lie in regions of the Y chromosome that can be lost, causing male infertility. So in principle, a genealogical DNA test can actually diagnose infertility in a client.

“In our study of over 3000 men we show that these kinds of ’deletions’ can indeed be found in ordinary population samples, rather than selected men from fertility clinics, highlighting this as an ethical issue. We recommend that testing companies avoid markers that lie in the commonly deleted regions.”

Ather Mirza | alfa
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