DTC genetic testing: pendulum swings and policy paradoxes
Article first published online: 10 NOV 2011
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Volume 81, Issue 1, pages 4–6, January 2012
How to Cite
Caulfield, T. (2012), DTC genetic testing: pendulum swings and policy paradoxes. Clinical Genetics, 81: 4–6. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2011.01799.x
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 10 NOV 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 14 OCT 2011 01:00PM EST
- Received 4 October 2011, revised and accepted for publication 11 October 2011
- DTC genetic testing;
- health policy;
- regulatory policy
Caulfield T. DTC genetic testing: pendulum swings and policy paradoxes.
After decades of optimistic portrayals, there has been a shift in the way that the popular press represents genomic research. A skeptical view has become more common. The central reason for this pendulum swing away from popular support is the harsh truth that most genetic risk information just isn't that predictive. This reality has created a fascinating policy paradox. If, as many in the scientific community are now saying, genetic information is not the oracle of our future health as we were once led to believe, and if access does not, for most, cause harm, why regulate the area? Why worry about shoddy direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies? One primary justification, and one endorsed by the recent Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG) Policy Statement on DTC Genetics Testing, is that information that is conveyed to the public about genetics via marketing and to those who access DTC tests should, at a minimum, be accurate.