I saw this on Gizmodo recently – Consumer DNA Testing May Be the Biggest Health Scam of the Decade – Gizmodo November 20, 2019: https://gizmodo.com/consumer-dna-testing-may-be-the-biggest-health-scam-of-1839358522.
At the start of this decade, the federal government called out consumer DNA testing as a burgeoning scam industry. Little did we know how it would explode in popularity.
In 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published an investigative report that bashed consumer DNA test companies for misleading the public. It accused them of deceptively claiming their products could predict the odds of developing more than a dozen medical conditions; some even went as far to offer equally dubious dietary supplements. The report had followed a similar lambasting of the industry by the GAO in 2006.
The crux of the problem is that our genetics are only a piece of the puzzle that influences our health. Sure, you can sometimes point to a specific gene mutation that always makes someone sick in a specific way if they carry it. But much more often, it’s a complex, barely understood mix of gene variants that predispose us to develop cancer or heart disease—and that risk can be amplified or muted by our environment (including the crucial months we spend in the womb).
None of this is meant to diminish the real potential of genetics as a field of research and medicine, nor the progress that has been made over the past decade.
Right now, though, it’s still up in the air how useful this info dump really is to the average person looking to stay healthy.
Given how popular at-home DNA testing has become, there’s really no sealing the genie back in the bottle. So if you want to get your genetic horoscope read this holiday, don’t let me stop you. But it’s a big decision you should sleep on. After all, once your DNA is out there, there’s no going back.