Direct-to-consumer genetic test results 40 percent wrong in small study

| | April 3, 2018
Image credit: Meredith Rizzo, NPR
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At-home DNA tests are “not intended for medical use,” meaning that the data they give you shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a real medical diagnosis.

At-home genetic testing companies like 23andMe,, Family Tree DNA and My Heritage are gaining popularity as a relatively cheap way to understand one’s ethnicity and genetic history.

Yet new research suggests that some results identifing genetic issues may be innaccurate—and that as much as 40 percent of analyses of these at-home genetic tests implying genetic disorders could be innacurate.

Researchers at AmbryGenetics conducted a study of 49 individuals who had done “direct-to-consumer” DNA tests…AmbryGenetics then checked those analyses with a more detailed and expensive genetic test. They found that only 60 percent of the genetic variance results could be confirmed.

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While this is a relatively small sample of 49 people, the thirteen results that came from the company 23andMe were confirmed accurate. In an email to Newsweek, they noted that their product “undergoes an incredibly rigorous, FDA-mandated accuracy review process – much more rigorous than this study which only used 49 samples from several different companies, whereas we test hundreds of samples.”

The study was published Monday [April 2] in the journal Nature.

Read full, original post: Nearly Half of At-Home DNA Test Results Could Be Wrong

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