Predictive or preposterous? The marketing of DTC genetic testing

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

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing has generated a great deal of social controversy. While the degree to which DTC testing actually causes harm remains uncertain, there is a consensus that the information provided by these companies should be accurate. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Indeed, there are misrepresentations associated with all forms of testing, be it for superficial cosmetic services, athletic ability or disease predisposition. Countering this phenomenon will require a wide range of actions, including the use of formal regulatory mechanisms, the education of primary healthcare providers (in order to give them the tools necessary to advise patients and respond to questions) and more aggressive action by the genetic research community.