‘Regulatory Wild West? DNA startups claim they can assess sexual preferences, depression risk, longevity and drinking proclivity

| | November 27, 2019
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Genomelink is just one of a growing number of shady DNA testing startups now operating in the regulatory Wild West of commercial genomics.

There’s GenePlaza, for instance, which sold a DNA test that claimed to predict users’ sexual preferences — and still sells tests that purport to measure intelligence and risk of depression. A company called Soccer Genomics claims to examine a child’s DNA to create a sports training regimen.

The problem, according to experts, is that these companies are promising information about DNA with a granularity that even scientists can’t deliver. Deanna Church, a geneticist at the biotech company Inscripta, told Futurism the tests are “all equally useless.”

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“There is not a scientific basis for this sort of testing,” she said. “I certainly would not recommend anyone spend any money on this sort of thing.”

But thousands of people are doing just that — and receiving supposed facts about themselves that have little or no scientific grounding. This can cause problems — Genomelink customers could feasibly see their predictions for traits like “gluten sensitivity,” “longevity,” or “alcohol drinking behavior,” assume the results are valid, and make ill-informed lifestyle or medical changes based on the results.

Read full, original post: ‘Like horoscope readings!”: The scammy world of DNA test startups

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