Consumer genetic tests on trial

I was glad to see that someone?s taking direct-to-consumer genetic testing to trial. Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics is a burgeoning experimental science as we?ll be writing about in September, but the common refrain among many experts -- ?It?s not ready for prime-time? -- hasn?t stopped several companies from marketing store bought genetic tests which are used with a lifestyle inventory to provide customized nutritional guidance. I?ve been linkurl:skeptical, to say the least,;http://www.the-s

Brendan Maher
Aug 1, 2006
I was glad to see that someone?s taking direct-to-consumer genetic testing to trial. Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics is a burgeoning experimental science as we?ll be writing about in September, but the common refrain among many experts -- ?It?s not ready for prime-time? -- hasn?t stopped several companies from marketing store bought genetic tests which are used with a lifestyle inventory to provide customized nutritional guidance. I?ve been linkurl:skeptical, to say the least,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/207/ and I?ve been annoyed at positive media coverage the companies have received without input from outside scientists. The government accountability office performed a sharp little investigation as to the veracity of these companies? claims. They bought genetic test kits from four companies and sent in a dozen fictitious profiles from the same two people (two from one male and nine from one female). The test?s first iteration, which submitted dog, cat, and blank samples were sent back because they...
nce as we?ll be writing about in September, but the common refrain among many experts -- ?It?s not ready for prime-time? -- hasn?t stopped several companies from marketing store bought genetic tests which are used with a lifestyle inventory to provide customized nutritional guidance. I?ve been linkurl:skeptical, to say the least,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/207/ and I?ve been annoyed at positive media coverage the companies have received without input from outside scientists. The government accountability office performed a sharp little investigation as to the veracity of these companies? claims. They bought genetic test kits from four companies and sent in a dozen fictitious profiles from the same two people (two from one male and nine from one female). The test?s first iteration, which submitted dog, cat, and blank samples were sent back because they couldn?t be processed, but the second test did not reflect well on the four companies exposing at best their proclivity toward ambiguous reports and recommendations, to at worst the disparate prediction of disease risk that verges on diagnosis and the soliciting of overpriced supplements or ?DNA-repair? pills that presumably do nothing. Although the study design is a bit scattershot, the results appear to hit a pretty rich vein of snake oil. See the GAO report linkurl:here.;http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06977t.pdf Recent hearings and copies of individual testimonies can be found linkurl:here.;http://aging.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=185 [Added 3:30pm -- Thanks for the correction to the link, Alex. It should be working now]

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