Who are the Healthcare Providers Approving Consumer-Driven Genetic Test Orders?

By Emily Qian, Magalie Leduc, and Birgit Funke

Consumer driven genetic testing has rapidly expanded, to the point where some genetic testing companies have reached 10 million customers. These tests are being advertised in commercials and in ads on social media. Genetic testing can reveal a variety of information ranging from ancestry to predisposition for disease. While ancestry, fitness regimens, and food preferences may seem all fun and games, the potential of learning about a predisposition for a serious disease should not be treated lightly.

While a DNA-based ancestry report may not require scientific expertise to understand the results, the genetics of human disease are highly complex. Thus specialized training is necessary to accurately interpret genetic information in this context. However, with the development of specialized medicine, the growing variety of health care providers, and the growing number of available un-credentialed educational courses online and degrees in various scientific areas, it is difficult for consumers to determine who may be the best provider with the right credentials to help them understand their genetic results. Read More

3 Things You Should Know About the Petrie-Flom Center’s 2019 Annual Conference

Breakthroughs in genetics have often raised complex ethical and legal questions, which loom ever larger as genetic testing is becoming more commonplace, affordable, and comprehensive, and genetic editing becomes poised to be a consumer technology. As genetic technologies become more accessible to individuals, the ethical and legal questions around the consumer use of these technologies become more pressing.

We are excited, therefore, to have many major thought leaders in this space discuss these issues at the Petrie-Flom Annual Conference, “Consuming Genetics: Ethical and Legal Considerations of New Technologies,” which will take place at Harvard Law School in May. Read More