I like to plan ahead; that much I knew about myself before I plunged into exploring my genetic code. I’m a healthy 28-year-old woman, but some nasty diseases run in my family: coronary heart disease,rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.
So I decided to read the tea leaves of my DNA. I reasoned that it was worth learning painful information if it might help me avert future illness.
Like others, I turned to genetic testing, but I wondered if I could trust the nascent field to give me reliable results. In recent years, a handful of studies have found substantial variations in the risks for common diseases predicted by direct-to-consumer companies.
I set out to test the tests: Could three of them agree on me?
The answers were eye-opening — and I received them just as one of the companies, 23andMe, received a stern warning from the Food and Drug Administration over concerns about the accuracy of its product. At a time when the future of such companies hangs in the balance, their ability to deliver standardized results remains dubious, with far-reaching implications for consumers.
Written By: Kira Peikoff
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