The general public is being urged not make well being selections primarily based
on genetic exams they do at residence.
A group of consultants from the College of Southampton
warned that the outcomes might be unreliable – both wrongly reassuring or
resulting in pointless fear.
23andMe, one of many firms providing exams, stated there
had been “many circumstances” the place outcomes had
Prof Anneke Lucassen, president of the British Society
for Genetic Medication and a advisor in medical genetics at College
Hospital Southampton, stated genetic exams bought on-line and in outlets “ought to
completely not be used to tell well being selections with out additional scrutiny”.
She stated discovering a well being threat through the exams usually does
not imply an individual will go on to develop the well being drawback in query, whereas
reassuring outcomes may be unreliable.
Some sufferers’ exams wrongly indicated they’d defective
genes suggesting a excessive threat of sure cancers.
The BMJ paper warns genetic exams usually prioritise
“breadth over element”, citing a 23andMe check that checks for a couple of
variants of Brca1 and a couple of, linked to breast and ovarian most cancers threat, when there
are literally hundreds.
A 23andMe spokesman instructed BBC Information its processes had been
extraordinarily correct and it spelt out precisely what its Brca check appeared for.
“We’re very clear with clients that we check solely
for sure genetic variants,” he stated. “So far as the variants we
are testing for, they’re a number of the most nicely studied and related to
extraordinarily excessive threat.”
He added that there have been many circumstances the place clients
have taken a 23andMe outcome to their docs, been prescribed confirmatory testing
and have had preventative therapy in consequence.
Dr Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK, stated:
“We suggest that you don’t purchase these exams, that are at finest a waste
of cash. Handing your DNA to a personal firm additionally raises privateness considerations for
you and members of your loved ones.”