Shopping For A Different Kind Of Genes

   By drodriguez  May 18, 2008

After a day of shopping in high end boutiques, browsing galleries, and eating at gourmet restaurants some U.S. residents can now pop in to a store to find out how likely it is that they will develop heart disease, breast cancer, or Alzheimer’s Disease later in life. This may sound far fetched, but the Navigenics store now located in the shopping district SoHo in New York City is very real.

A recent article from the New York Times discusses Navigenics, a California based company that just started offering genetic testing to the public. The New York City storefront surprises many people in the area because it is just across the street from a lingerie boutique. The way the store is juxtaposed within the cityscape makes it feel like genetic testing is becoming a mainstream easily accessible commodity to residents who wander in off the street.

But maybe not as easily accessible as some would think. Navigenics charges a fee of $2,500 to analyze a person’s DNA through a saliva sample in order to gauge the risk of 18 conditions which include heart attacks and breast cancer. After the initial test, the company charges $250 a year to provide updates regarding the latest research about all types of illnesses.

Even if a person has the money for a test, many are skeptical of the benefits of knowing their likelihood of contracting debilitating illnesses. New York resident Dr. Perry Starer does not believe Navigenics is offering a useful service to residents. “I would say live your life as if you might get any of these diseases,” he said. “The choice you’re going to make is healthy living.”

Professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, Raju Kucherlapati, is on the other end of the argument. He believes that knowledge of what may lay ahead could motivate patients and doctors to shift resources from treating illnesses to preventing them. Dr. Kuchlerlpati says, “This is just the beginning of a wave of information that is going to be made available to patients.”

What do you think of the idea of a storefront offering genetics testing to the public?

If a store like Navigenics opened up in your neighborhood would you be tempted to get tested?

Make a Comment

maxandlucy by maxandlucy | belvidere, IL
Jul 09, 2008

Usually when a business deals in volume, can't these people bring the cost of the testing way down? If it does become more affordable i'd get it done. Our family history on both sides is kinda scary, and even with stress tests some of my realatives died in thier 40's of heart attacks. Would and could it make me paranoid about developing fill in the blank test result from the dna test, sure, but the benifits could outway that risk.

dlwilhite by dlwilhite | NEWNAN, GA
Jun 30, 2008

I am wondering if it test for carriers of genetic disorders that may affect your children. As a mother of a Fragile X child it would have been beneficial if I had this option in front of me before having a child. I love my son dearly but I could have made the decision more wisely if I had known I was a carrier of Fragile X. For more information all pre-moms go to and read about the disorder. It is the number one cause of mental retardation and Autism. The numbers of likely carriers would most definatly surprise you.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Jun 12, 2008

A GENE STORE! What a great idea! Wish I had thought of it first. That's American ingenuity at its best. Only hope the prices come down, and perhaps with supply and demand, who knows? Hey, maybe they'll start offering coupons and promocodes! Or a family plan! or two for one specials. Maybe they'll team up with Cryogenics so one can plan their demise and their remise (is that a word?)all at one low price.

laurielew by laurielew | AUBURN HILLS, MI
Jun 06, 2008

I would not want this test..I would just end up paranoid thinking I would be getting whatever it showed!!

Karmacidal by Karmacidal | Anchorage, AK
May 31, 2008

If I had that kind of money to spend, I would certainly do it if only for the curiosity factor. I'm pretty healthy, as is my family tree, but it would be nice to know if they saw anything interesting. The only problem I would have is if there was some sort of push after testing to purchase insurance or some other medical related service 'customized' to your results. Not much good could come from that.

rmhartsell by rmhartsell | Hoover, AL
May 30, 2008

I think there is a practical reason for it; I don't know if I would pay that amount of money. But just like most things, as more companies start to provide the same thing, the price comes down.

scrap728 by scrap728 | Buffalo, NY
May 30, 2008

I wouldn't be able to afford the test but if I did I wouldn't pay to have it done because my family history already tells me what could be expected.

sn0fl8k3 by sn0fl8k3 | San Jose, CA
May 28, 2008

I think this is a great idea. The best way to avoid illness, is prevention. If you have the genes that put you at more risk for some cancers or illnesses, there are things you could change in your lifestyle to help prevent the onset. Like if you knew you had a tendency towards adult diabeties, wouldn't you want to know so you could nip it in the butt now? I think it would be super helpful in the furture, but totally unresonably priced now.

JoeyWallace1978 by JoeyWallace1978 | Bartlett, TX
May 26, 2008


May 26, 2008

That is a great Test Idea! However, Wuld you really want to accully wan to know every single detail thats wrong with you?

Its just like knowing the exact minute a person is going to die or omething...Scary??..?????

sandybar311 by sandybar311 | Anniston, AL
May 22, 2008

As a breast cancer survivor I don't think that I would want this test. Would this test stop me from getting breast cancer? I think not! I already lived as healthy a life as I could. The results of this test would have brought worry and I probably would spend my time worrying instead of living. I would have went through life looking or expecting a problem. This test can't prove that you will get something, it just lets you know that you have a greater chance of getting it. I just don't think that we can change getting cancer or not getting cancer by living healthier. I think it is in our environment, in the air we breath etc.

frogqueen75 by frogqueen75 | Berea, KY
May 19, 2008

I guess it depends on what you would do w/the information if you had it...would you spend your days worrying excessively that you're going to get sick/die from Disease X? Would you take the necessary steps to correct your lifestyle to prevent Disease X or at least prolong your health to the best of your abilities-or just take the fatalist view that if you're going to get sick/die from something, then you're going to live the way YOU want to? My father-in-law was having headaches, so he got his eyes checked & the eye doc actually sent him to the ER, where they did dopplars on his neck-he was 70% & 90% blocked...literally a heartbeat away from a stroke. And yet he still eats fried, fatty foods & smokes. I know that diabetes & heart disease are in my genetic makeup on both sides of the family, so I do what I can to live a little healthier & perhaps avoid's a matter of personal choice (I want to see my grandchildren get father-in-law won't see his.)

Lusadi by Lusadi | Wasilla, AK
May 18, 2008

No. Even if you did show positive for some type of disease, that does not mean you will contract that disease. I think you just have to do what you can to make yourself as healthy as possible and live your life as it comes. To know a disease is your genetic make-up would just create unnecessary worry.

yayagirl by yayagirl | BLOOMINGTON, MN
May 18, 2008

I can't afford it now but if I could I would certainly want to use this service on both myself and my daughters. I am from a family of seven kids. and the three oldest have all died from cancers between age 51- 53. I am 51 now myself & healthy so far. But the fear is with me daily.