Too much hype: Can direct-to-consumer genetic tests be trusted?

DNA swab

There is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing company that gives parents the opportunity to uncover their kids’ “hidden” talents. You can (allegedly) find out if your child has the genetic propensity for things like dancing, passion, intelligence, self-reflection and even teenage romance.

This is all scientifically absurd, of course…But, despite the lack of evidence, these kooky kinds of DTC services continue to proliferate and have become big business.

There are now DTC genetic testing companies that will use your DNA to select your exercise routine, diet, life partner (seriously), anti-aging products and even wine and beer. As many have noted again and again and again and again, there is very little science to support any of it.

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To be honest, I’m not sure if these services will ever have any broadly applicable practical health value. In the best-case scenario, they provide an opportunity to engage the topic of genetics, explore health prevention strategies and have a bit of fun with science. But even in this context — a scenario that is often called recreational genetics — I worry that DTC services still serve mostly as a source of hype, adding more confusion than clarity about the role of genes and the elements of a healthy lifestyle.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The direct-to-consumer genetic testing fog

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