Emory launches genetic screening for Ashkenazi Jews

(JTA) — Emory University introduced a genetic screening initiative for hereditary diseases in the Ashkenazi Jewish community.

J Screen, which was launched by the School of Medicine’s Department of Human Genetics at the prominent Atlanta university, is a multi-state initiative that will provide screening through a saliva test taken at home.  The program also will offer private counseling to Jewish couples and individuals to determine their risk for passing on genetic diseases to their children.

The services are available in Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

J Screen is a collaboration of clinical geneticists, the business community and nonprofits.

Geneticists have identified genetic markers for 19 genetic diseases that are more common in the Jewish community. JScreen also offers an expanded panel for couples of mixed descent and interfaith couples, which screens for a total of 80 diseases.