‘They emphasised the options'
Nathalie Sadie, 17, took part in the GENEius programme at JFS earlier this year.
“The assembly Jnetics held pre-screening was quite useful in terms of getting some kind of background information,” she says.
“I do A-level biology, so I knew quite a lot of the information they told us. I know that a lot of people didn’t know as much as I did.
“I thought it was really clear. Everybody could understand the outcome if you were a carrier [she was not]. They really emphasised that if you are, it’s better to know than to go through life not knowing.
“They emphasised how many options there are if you are a carrier.”
The saliva test had been “super easy. We had a one-on-one meeting with a Jnetics adviser before we spat into the tube.
“Any questions you had you could ask and everyone was really friendly, so they made you feel comfortable.”
Nathalie would “100 per cent” recommend that other pupils go through the process.
“I think one of the perks of the programme for us was that we didn’t have to put in a lot of effort to get it done.
“It was at school. All we had to do was book an appointment and it was free.”
'It was a good idea to get tested'
Rafael Rossiter, 17, took part in a GENEius screening session arranged by Jnetics for JFS students.
He says that prior to Jnetics coming to the school, he “knew a bit about genetic diseases as a whole. But not specifically Jewish genetic diseases.
“They’d mentioned Jewish ones like Tay-Sachs in a Jewish studies lesson. But we’d never gone into it in depth, as in how many people were affected.”
Being tested by Jnetics “just took a few minutes. You spit into a tube, close the tube and a liquid is released into the tube, which I presume is to make the spit easier to analyse.
“That’s pretty much it. A few weeks ago they emailed me the results.”
They showed he was not a carrier for any of the genetic conditions tested for. Rafael’s view is that any student offered the test should take it.
“It’s not something I was up all night worrying about. But I did think: ‘I’m Jewish and I know that historically the Jewish gene pool can get a bit concentrated’, so it was probably a very good idea to get tested.
“I asked my mum about it and she said she had a friend who had a child die from Tay-Sachs.”