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When Linda and Anne saw the DNA technology that was being developed, they say they got excited and wanted to give everyone the opportunity to get tested. "We felt that it was time to bring this out to the mainstream public and give individuals the opportunity to access their own genetic information and then tell them what it means," Linda says. "That's what we do as a company. We have a big team of scientists that take all the literature and digest that and write it up for individuals who are curious about what their genetics have in store for them."

Anne, who is nine months pregnant, says she already knows some things about her unborn child. By comparing her results with her husband's, she says she can make some educated guesses. "I looked at Sergey's profile and I looked at me, and we saw that the child has a 50 percent [chance of being] lactose intolerant," she says. "Because of Sergey, the child has a very, very unlikely chance of having blue eyes."

Most importantly, Anne says her husband discovered he's a carrier for a genetic marker that puts him at high risk for Parkinson's disease. "That means that our child also has a chance—a 50 percent chance—of getting that marker from Sergey, so he would also be at high risk for Parkinson's," she says. "It's really changed our life because we've really become focused on how we can enable Parkinson's research."

While some people may not want to know what to expect in the future, Linda says they're happy to give others the choice. "We believe in rights for people to have the opportunity to do this, but if you don't want to do it, you absolutely shouldn't. It's not for everyone," she says. "This is the chance for you to finally get access to your own genetics, and if you want to do that, this is one means of getting it."
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FROM: Oprah Fridays: Melissa Etheridge Speaks Out
Published on November 14, 2008

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