At more colleges, classes on genetics get personal

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — University of Iowa student Bakir Hajdarevic didn’t have to study for the most important test in his genetics class. He just had to spit.

The 19-year-old took an honors seminar in which students could choose to send saliva samples for testing to learn about personal health secrets such as whether they are at risk for cancer or carriers for genetic disease.

Taught at Iowa for the first time, the class is part of a growing movement in higher education to tackle the field of personal genetics, which is revolutionizing medicine. Several other universities have recently added similar classes.

They’re forcing students to decide whether it is better to be ignorant or informed about possible health problems — a decision more Americans will confront as genetic testing becomes cheaper.

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