The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

New York Times’ Brody Counsels DTC Genomics Caution

An article in yesterday’s New York Times calls direct-to-consumer genetic testing, a trend we are following on this blog, “fraught with potential dangers.”  Although our original post on the subject discussed many of the regulatory and ethical issues around DTC genomics, Brody’s article raises some interesting additional points:

  • The risk of false reassurance: “a man told he lacks genes linked to an elevated risk of heart disease might decide to smoke, eat lots of salt and saturated fats, avoid exercise or develop a large paunch.”
  • The article also notes privacy risks, citing Lori Andrews’ comments that “[s]ome companies are just a front end for biotech companies that use it for research.”

Brody is reluctant to confer even a label of “relatively harmless” on the current technology, but the article will probably drive further awareness and additional interest.

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