Do We Need a Genomic Testing Seal of Approval?

Genomic testing, once the bastion of high-end research facilities, has practically become a consumer service. It is a popular one – since many Americans are eager to know what kind of genetic “time bombs” may be ticking away in their bodies. However, the experts warn that consumers need to be careful how they handle these procedures.

Specifically, the experts at The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) are reaching out with some guidelines that consumers can use to get honest, actionable results from personalized genomic testing.

The ACMG is concerned that consumers may fall victim to companies that provide less-than-acceptable quality controls, and has created a new ACMG Statement on Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing.

Their statement emphasizes the importance of laboratory accreditation laboratory accreditation by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program or equivalent accrediting body and the necessity of having certified genetics experts available to assist consumers in interpreting test results that have medical implications.

Here are some questions the ACMG recommends you ask before proceeding with genetic testing services:

  • Is the laboratory performing the test accredited by CLIA?
  • Who will have access to the test results
  • Do you have board-certified genetic professionals available to me to help interpret the test results and answer my questions?
  • What processes are in place to protect the results?
  • What will happen to the DNA once testing is complete?
  • Will the data be sold to or shared with any third parties?

As you can see, there are issues of both quality and privacy to be determined. You don’t want your genomic information falling into the wrong hands.

Find the complete ACMG Statement on Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing is available HERE.

Genomic testing can certainly provide you with a powerful tool for protecting your family’s health. However, as with any tool it can be misused. Make sure you get the quality, and privacy protections, you need.

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