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".
- Press articles
- American Medical News: Consumer genetic testing has little value, GAO report says (2nd August 2010)
- Nature: Consumer gene testing in the hotseat (29th July 2010)
- CBS News: DNA home kits "no practical use to consumers", says Government report (28th July 2010)
- Fortune: Genetic testing gets political, finally (27th July 2010)
- CNN: 'No scientific basis seen' for at-home DNA tests
- The Register: Mrs Brin's medical show deceived consumers, says report (24th July)
- San Diego Union Tribune: Gene test sellers come under fire (23rd July 2010)
- San Jose Mercury News: Navigenics, 23andMe slammed in government report (22nd July 2010)
- Bloomberg: Gene test services mislead public (22nd July 2010)
- GeneWatch Press Release
- GeneWatch PR: GeneWatch slams voluntary gene test guidelines 4th August 2010
- Official documents