Hoping to clear up confusion about the growing welter of genetic tests, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today unveiled a new database that lists thousands of tests voluntarily submitted by companies and non-profit labs.
Genetic tests now exist for some 2500 diseases, from cystic fibrosis to APOE, which raises the risk of Alzheimer's disease. NIH created the Genetic Testing Registry for physicians, patients, and researchers after experts suggested that such a database could improve transparency about genetic tests. Run by NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the database can be searched by condition, test, gene, and lab and includes information such as whether the test sequences the entire gene for mutations or looks for specific errors. Links lead to resources like NCBI's GeneReviews, which are brief descriptions of specific inherited diseases and how to test for them.