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DNA Ancestry Site Now Tests For Certain Illnesses

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- For about $200 bucks, and a little bit of spit, you can find out your risk of four certain diseases or conditions, but is it something you would want to know?

23andMe, which typically offers ancestry DNA testing, can also look for genetic markers of certain conditions or illnesses, including Parkinsons and late-on-set Alzheimer's.

"You can do that test, and look through a handful of genes and say to somebody -- in most cases -- either 'we found something that suggests you're at elevated risks,' or, 'we didn't find that thing," said Dr. Steven Joffe, an Associate Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at UPenn.

He says studies show that people who find out they have genes for certain medical conditions don't change behaviors.

"I think we have yet to see evidence of lots of benefits from getting this kind of information back," Joffe said.

He says those who get results that they have a genetic variant for a certain condition should see a doctor.

"You might be at elevated risk of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. You certainly should be talking to your doctor, or genetic counselor, or somebody who can help you interpret that information - put it in context," said Joffe.

The company was approved to test for 10 diseases or illnesses, but right now is only looking at four.

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