US gene test investigation

In a 2010 investigation of companies selling direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that consumers received test results that are misleading and of little or no practical use. The GAO investigated four companies in detail: 23andMe (Company 1), DeCode Genetics (Company 2), Pathway Genomics (Company 3) and Navigenics (Company 4), plus the marketing practices of a further 11 companies.

People were often given contradictory results about their genetic risk of different conditions by the four companies investigated in detail, and predictions contradicted family and medical histories, which are more reliable than gene tests for common diseases. Ten examples of deceptive marketing were identified involving the total 15 companies. One woman was wrongly told by Navigenics that she was "in the pretty high risk of pretty much getting" breast cancer - a claim described by experts as "unacceptable and truly frightening".


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