Commercial Genetic Testing: Testing Accuracy

Author: Labria “BB” Young

Genetic testing is a very useful tool that the world has been given to help people of the various life changing genetic diseases that have been passed down through their genes. But is it safe for us to give this information to people who have no medical knowledge of the results that are displayed. There are some who are skeptical about these test and the information it holds. What especially makes them raise suspton is most companies aren’t giving their patients any type of support; such as a medical advisor, counselor. This data does not show a hundred percent accuracy and can be easily misinterpreted if not explained to them in depth.

Today, We have many different types of testing that can be done to find many different things in a persons genetic future, such as simple diagnostic testing for soon to be parents testing to find out the possible future for your child. Many who do take these test are prone to do very drastic things in order to stop the more harsh genes from being passed onto another generation or even have to suffer with knowing that they’ll develop a serious life changing disease; But these could test save lives. One story was shared about a woman scared for her baby’s life of developing a kidney disease/problem, whereas another helped take the worry of another woman who had a long line of various cancers on her father’s side and slight regret of not getting these test sooner

But the question still stands if these test are accurate. That is one of the reasons the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has fought Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avery’s program, 23andMe for not giving them proof that the saliva DNA test show 100% accuracy. The FDA have been going back and forth with this company as well as sending out a public warning Wojcicki to either show proof or discontinue these test. The similar thing may have happened to (there is another testing site that took itself down and discounted services i need to go back through my notes and find it)

The mission statement for 23andMe is short, sweet and simple; “To be the world’s most trusted source of personal genetic information” doesn’t sound too comforting. It seems that they want to get more money and more traffic for the company. Its not enough for them to be satisfied with the cost of $99 for their home salvia kits.

So why invest so much into these test from various private companies that just want to take money with a system filled with various inaccuracies. Not to mention one fighting with the FDA. Ultimately, its always up to the test taker to choose their future for themselves, their family, and possibly the life of another.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. LisaF. says:

    Interesting. But if the genetic testing were to fail on a baby or a person’s traits, what kind of risks or deformities might occur as the result? As for the women’s story, it did sound like a miracle happened but she was educated in the matter of knowing what the risks are. And along with the testing inaccuracy, the story seem to be missing the price of testing or details of it only working on babies with chromosome abnormalities, inherited diseases, or other defects. What I’m trying to say is that if they have worked on babies, then have there been any research on creating a way to have genetic testing work on children, teens, or adults? And if this should be encouraged to be educated about?
    As a side question, what are home saliva kits? I didn’t know you can do these kind of testings at home.

    1. amandalevin says:

      Fantastic reply/question(s).

  2. I was wondering if most of the people going to these places go because they want to or because their doctor recommends it. It seems like if a doctor recommends the tests then they could be the ones to explain the results. I also remember from the presentation I think you said that people who use genetics testing may want to abort their babies if they are positive for some diseases, do you think that this is better or worse with people who don’t get counseling afterwards? Also what is more common having a false positive on the test or a false negative?

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