As you may have seen on CNN, JScreen allows individuals to test for 19 of the most common Jewish genetic diseases. It is a first-of-its-kind initiative providing an affordable, easy-to-use at-home saliva test paired with genetic counseling to help ensure a healthy future for all participants.
The JScreen program (www.jscreen.org), managed by Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Human Genetics, provides at-home genetic screening and private counseling for people with Jewish lineage to determine their risk for hereditary diseases that could be passed to their children.
Today's geneticists have identified genetic markers for 19 genetic diseases that are more common in the Jewish-Ashkenazi community, including Tay-Sachs and Canavan disease. The carriers are healthy but they can pass the diseases along to their children. Couples who are both carriers can risk unknowingly having children with one of these diseases. JScreen also offers an expanded panel, useful for couples of mixed descent and interfaith couples, which screens for a total of 80 diseases.
“By leveraging advances in genetic testing and online education that allow people to be screened in the comfort of their homes, we are removing barriers to allow more people to be screened,” said Patricia Zartman Page, JScreen senior director at the Emory School of Medicine’s Department of Human Genetics.
JScreen makes testing for common genetic
diseases simple - providing an easy-to-use at-home saliva test that
gives people who are planning to have children an unprecedented
understanding of their own genetic
makeup and risks relating to their children’s health. If a person or
couple’s risk is elevated, genetic counselors from Emory University
School of Medicine will privately address their results, options and
resources to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy
An estimated 76 percent of young Jewish men and women have not been tested, according to Emory’s own research. Now JScreen is here to provide everyday people with ready access to cutting-edge Jewish genetic testing technology, patient education and genetic counseling services. People interested in requesting the kit can visit the program’s website at www.JScreen.org to learn more.
JScreen will start in Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. For individuals with medical insurance, the cost of screening will usually not exceed $99, and is often much lower, depending on insurance.