News·3 min read

Daily Skimm: Prenatal Genetic Tests, Rust, and Snickers

Woman undergoing prenatal genetic testing
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock, bluecinema
Apr 21, 2022

Testing, Testing

The Story

The FDA is warning about prenatal genetic tests.

Tell me.

An investigation found that about one-third of pregnant women get blood tests for genetic disorders in fetuses. These usually happen in the first or second trimester. For Down syndrome, the test is 99% accurate. But not for other tests. Earlier this year, The New York Times released a report finding high rates of false positives for genetic disorders and other microdeletions. Now, the FDA’s reportedly confirming it: positive results for rare genetic disorders could be wrong in 70-98% of cases.

That’s…a large majority.

Right. Problem, because people are making health decisions on this information. Sometimes that means more invasive, expensive follow-up tests that carry a higher risk of miscarriage. Some women have even terminated their pregnancies because of the information. Another problem: the tests aren't actively regulated by the FDA.

And why in the world not?

Technically, they’re considered “lab-developed tests,” not diagnostic tests. Confused? So is Congress. It’s now considering a bipartisan bill that would give the FDA authority to regulate these tests like it does others. More info could come later this year.


Blood tests can help rule out genetic conditions. But false positives can have real and damaging health consequences. Patients deserve reliable data — and FDA regulation could help provide that.

PS: Want an expert opinion on this topic? Skimm Well talked to Dr. Melissa Fries, the director of genetics and fetal medicine at MedStar Washington.

And Also...This

Who’s facing repercussions…

Rust Movie Productions. Yesterday, New Mexico fined the production company nearly $137,000 for firearms safety failures on the set of “Rust.” Last year, Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun while on set, killing the cinematographer and injuring the director. Criminal investigations are already underway and Baldwin and other producers are facing a wrongful death lawsuit. Now, investigators allege producers knew that firearm safety procedures weren’t followed and failed to intervene. The production company says it is planning to appeal.

Who people are talking about…

A$AP Rocky. Yesterday, the 33-year-old rapper was arrested at LAX Airport in connection to a shooting last year. The rapper — whose legal name is Rakim Mayers — was charged with assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly shooting at an acquaintance in Hollywood, who sustained a minor injury. The attack allegedly happened around 10:15pm in November, following an argument between the victim and others. The news comes as A$AP Rocky’s girlfriend — aka Rihanna — is expecting their first child together. Now, the rapper has been released on a $550,000 bond.

  • Not the first arrest: In 2019, A$AP Rocky was found guilty of assault in Sweden, following his alleged involvement in a street fight. He was detained for around a month before his release.

What’s taking a swing at Russia and Belarus…

Wimbledon. Yesterday, the tournament said it’s banning Russian and Belarusian players from the June event to "limit Russia's global influence." That includes men's world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and women's world No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka. The Kremlin called the ban “unacceptable.”

Who’s a jolly good fellow…

Queen Elizabeth II.

What people are still Snickering over…

Snickers’ veins.

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