Consumer genetics needs more transparency, not excessive regulation

An excerpt from an article I co-wrote for Xconomy with Genomics Law Report's Dan Vorhaus - link to the full article below.



Are you ready for consumer genetics? Is your government?

Recent announcements of federal investigations into the budding direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing industry suggest that authorities are preparing to increase regulation of companies offering consumers access to their own genetic data. However, rather than rushing in to clamp down on the industry, regulators should slow down and focus, first, on understanding this complex field.

An increasing number of individuals are exploring their genetic information using tests purchased directly over the Internet. For between $100 and $1,000 consumers can purchase a saliva collection tube, spit in the tube, and mail it back to the company. A few weeks later the results are available online. One DTC genetics company, 23andMe, recently announced that it had provided its test to over 30,000 customers.

Genetic tests can provide the consumer with personalized information ranging from eye color, to ancestry, to risk of common diseases such as diabetes. Many companies include all of these traits and more in a single product examining hundreds of thousands of genetic markers. For the moment, these tests are available to anybody with a computer and a sense of curiosity. But that could all change.

Read the full article at Xconomy.


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How can you have more transparency without regulation? It's human nature for people to hide things, especially when profits and shareholders are on the line. Regulation leads to transparency in my opinion.

I am with Gene. Transparency does not exist of its own due to the high moral characters of the business owners of genomic testing companies because they really believe in it. Yes I am being sarcastic. Transparency only exists because it is forced by regulation. It is silly to let business people with their own selfish needs override public security issues, and fears that these folks are just taking them for a ride, and scamming them for their money. PT Barnum: There is a sucker born every minute, is the usual business credo.