May 11, 2009

Mass. woman does home genetics testing

A U.S. genetic researcher says she believes there's a market among hobbyists who'd want to buy equipment to test their own DNA sequences.

Katherine Aull, a 23-year-old graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is creating a start-up biotech company in her Cambridge, Mass., apartment to tap what she and others believe may be a market among non-scientists who would want to use home computers to probe the traits of their own DNA, The Boston Globe reported Monday.

The newspaper said she was inspired by the illness of her father, who through her genetic testing found he had a potentially deadly but very treatable disease: hemochromatosis. Instead of going to a doctor to have her own DNA tested, Aull instead did it herself using household items and a few affordable pieces of lab equipment.

For so many people, biology is something scary that takes place in a lab, Aull told the Globe. This shows people it's understandable, and part of your life. "¦ You can do it with basic kitchen equipment.