Viewpoint: Read the fine print to understand the weakness of consumer genetics tests

4-30-2019 andme genetic testing kit
Chilean Josefina Sandoval opens a DNA test kit. Image: Claudio Reyes/AFP

Direct-to-consumer genetic tests like Ancestry and 23andMe were mostly the result of innocent curiosity.

Geneticists at the turn of the century were hopeful that after the near completion of the Human Genome Project, they would be able to provide comprehensive personalized insights to everyone. While this idea may be true eventually, right now it’s still a pipe dream.

At-home genetic testing companies, though, immediately capitalized on the few variations scientists do understand: a handful related to health and wellness traits, and a few others associated with populations from across the world. …

But the designs of these popular tests raise ethical questions. On the one hand, simplified genetic reports make personalized science accessible. They’re also easily shared on social media, adding an element of entertainment. On the other, they obfuscate the nuances and complexities of a growing scientific discipline. Although most companies make their tests’ shortcomings clear in the fine print, users don’t have much incentive to read about them when sleek presentations fool them into thinking they have the full story.

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Read full, original post: The biggest problem with at-home genetic testing services is hiding in plain sight

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