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As DISCOVER’s own Kat Mc Gowan wrote last year, “Another worry is that people may overreact to their results.Someone who has an elevated risk of breast cancer, for example, might take a drastic step like getting a mastectomy, not realizing that the test predicts increased risk, not a particular outcome.” Then again, if you get curious enough to try multiple tests, you might have the opposite problem.Related Content: DISCOVER: How Much Can You Learn from a Home DNA Test?I do not assert ownership of any images or videos posted here; the images and videos belong to their respective owners.Some curious folks who’ve tried out multiple personal genomics firms have received contradictory answers. The fine print Even if you don’t act on the information that a personal genetic test brings, it could impact you emotionally to learn about your ancestry or your family (say, if your father wasn’t your genetic father).That’s why the fine print on personal-genomics products is so extensive.For the low, low price of -30 you can pick up a kit to take a sample of your own saliva, which you mail off to Pathway Genomics, a company partnering with Walgreens.
The state considers these to be medical tests, and medical tests require a license.
And the ramifications could do beyond the emotional realm.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 offers some protection for personal genetic information, but how much is not terribly clear.
The tests by personal genomics companies like 23and Me and Pathway look at particular point mutations that scientists think to be associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s or cystic fibrosis.
Making clear predictions from a person’s DNA, though, will require not only a further understanding of what genes are linked to what diseases, but also how those genes interact with environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and each other, as our reporter found out in 2008 when having her DNA examined by several of the most prominent companies. That might take a few years and require sequencing a person’s entire genome, not just sampling selected bits, as the companies do now [The New York Times]. Overreaction—and mixed results As the FDA noted in its statement quoted above, customers must understand the limitations of these tests—and not act too drastically.