Know your genes. The marketing of direct-to-consumer genetic testing


Genetic testing promises to put the ability to decide about our life choices in our hands, as well as help solve crucial health problems by preventing the insurgence of diseases. But what happens when these exams are managed by private companies in a free market? Public communication and marketing have proven to be crucial battlefields on which companies companies need to engage in order to emerge. This issue of JCOM tries to shed some light on the communication and marketing practices used by private companies that sell direct-to-consumer genetic testing, from single genetic mutations to whole genome sequencing.


21 September 2011



Personal Genomics Companies are an emerging form of biotechnology startup that bring rapidly advancing whole genome technologies to a variety of commercial venues.


Since the early 2000s, anybody can buy genetic tests, directly sold on the Internet. These tests provide information about susceptibilities to some diseases and/or about ancestry.


Easy, cheap, efficient as online service often are. Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing (DCGT) represents a big evolution towards personalised medicine.


Since opening their doors in late 2006, personal genomics (PG) companies have faced skepticism and criticism from influential academic and government circles.