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Surprising Science

What Good Are Personal D.N.A. Tests?

It’s natural to watch a child closely to see where he or she might excel. But surveillance that drills down to the subatomic level via personal D.N.A. testing is ridiculous.

Do parents go too far when they order D.N.A. kits to assess their children’s strengths and weaknesses? “To be sure, some of us are born with natural talents—great aim, the ability to draw what we see, perfect pitch. But these abilities mean little without years of hard work, supportive relationships with mentor and family and luck. Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether a variant discovery means much anyway. Scientists estimate that as many as 80 percent of all people have the wished for ACTN3 variant. The estimated 20 percent who do not include an Olympian in the long jump.”


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