Testing DTC Genomic Testing I

Now that we’ve all gotten over the shock of being able to order a genetic test through Amazon.com, we can begin to actually ask some useful questions about DTC genomic testing and its utility.  Not much is really known about how useful it is.  However, in the tradition of Hippocrates, the first question we must ask is “is it harmful?”

The medical research community was all over the task once the DTC genomic testing services emerged from the intellectual garages of Silicon Valley and elsewhere and hit the streets.  Two studies of note asked the question above, using Navigenics’ service as a model.  The first paper was published by Bloss and colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine in February of this year.  Just last month, James and colleagues published another study of the effects of DTC genomic testing in the Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic.  Neither paper reported any untoward effects of genomic testing under these circumstances on the test population.

More studies of DTC genomic testing are in the offing, I’m sure, in addition to the commentary and other reports on the technology so far published.  Now might be a good time to take a longer look and ask some of the interesting questions about DTC genomic testing, what it means, and why it created such a commotion.  I am in the process of shifting through many of these reports and opinions and will write another post soon on the subject.

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