Publication date: Dec 01, 2019
Our genome (the whole of our hereditary information, encoded in our DNA) contains about three billion genes.
However, there is no guarantee that direct-to-consumer DNA kits are capable of detecting all common single genetic mutations.
For example, the tests do not screen for all types of breast cancer, which can lead consumers to falsely conclude their risk of all breast cancers is low if their test results do not indicate a gene mutation associated with breast cancer.
At best, the types of DNA tests that provide information on single-mutation diseases should be accompanied by appropriate genetic counseling.
Since most diseases are based on multiple genes and environment, a genetics counselor can help put the test results into perspective.
Laws protecting consumers are evolving, but clearly, at-home DNA tests expose consumers to unknown and, perhaps, unintended consequences.
DNA tests were first pitched to consumers as a way in which they could learn about their ancestry.
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