FDA allows 23andMe to market genetic tests

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday agreed to allow genetic testing company 23andMe to market tests directly to consumers to assess their predisposition to develop 10 diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Celiac disease.

The FDA said the tests are intended to provide genetic risk information but cannot determine a person’s overall risk of developing a disease or condition.

“In addition to the presence of certain genetic variants, there are many factors that contribute to the development of a health condition, including environmental and lifestyle factors,” the agency said in a statement.

The company’s genetic-health-risk reports work by testing saliva samples for more than 500,000 genetic variants whose presence or absence may be associated with the conditions approved by the FDA.

— Reuters

More deliveries mean more dog attacks

Booming online retail sales are good news for the U.S. Postal Service, but its carriers are incurring a cost: more dog bites.

Dog attacks on postal workers rose last year to 6,755, up 206 from the previous year and the highest in three decades, as Internet shopping booms and consumers increasingly demand seven-day-a-week package delivery and groceries dropped at their doorstep.

Los Angeles topped the 2016 list with 80 attacks on postal workers, followed by Houston with 62 and Cleveland with 60.

The Postal Service released its annual figures Thursday as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which begins Sunday.

“It’s always on your mind as a carrier, ‘Is there a dog in the area and is it a threat?’ ” said James Solomon, a 17-year postal carrier. He said every carrier he knows has a “dog experience” to tell, from outrunning to cajoling a territorial pet.

— Associated Press

Judge eyes Mueller to oversee Takata funds

A federal judge in Detroit said Thursday that he plans to name former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee nearly $1 billion in Takata restitution funds as part of a Justice Department settlement.

In January, Takata agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and to pay $1 billion to resolve a federal investigation into its air-bag inflaters linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide.

Takata agreed to establish two independently administered restitution funds: an $850 million fund to compensate automakers for recalls, and a $125 million fund for individuals physically injured by Takata’s air bags who have not already reached a settlement.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for a third straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 4.10 percent from 4.14 percent last week. The benchmark rate stood at 3.59 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level dating to 1971. The rate on 15-year mortgages eased to 3.36 percent from 3.39 percent.

Aetna will exit Iowa’s Obamacare-compliant individual insurance market in 2018, amid uncertainty over which insurers will sell plans and at what price as Republicans seek to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Citing financial risk and the uncertain outlook, the insurer said Thursday it is evaluating other remaining individual insurance markets, which include Delaware, Nebraska and Virginia. The company exited about a dozen markets this year.

France’s PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars, said Thursday it has begun offering a car-sharing service in Los Angeles, marking its return to the United States. PSA said a new division, PSA North America, will be led by Larry Dominique, a U.S. auto industry veteran. The automaker is offering the car-sharing service via its Free2Move brand and its partner Travelcar. The service is being offered to travelers from Los Angeles airport, ahead of a wider U.S. rollout, PSA said.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases employment data for March.

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for February.

3 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for February.