The University of California, Berkeley, said Thursday it would drop part of its genetic testing program for incoming students to comply with instructions from state health regulators.

University officials said they would abide by the California Department of Public Health's finding that the voluntary gene scans must be treated as medical diagnostic tests if students are given access to their individual results.

In response, university officials said they would only report the combined test results of all students.

The university said it had sent test kits to more than 5,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students as part of its "Bring Your Genes to Cal" program.

New students typically are asked to read a book that can serve as a common point of discussion. The university this year decided to use the gene tests to spur conversation about genetics and personalized medicine.

The scans will analyze genes that help control the body's responses to alcohol, dairy products and folic acid. Organizers of the program said they specifically chose genes that were not connected to serious health issues.

But the health department...