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Genetic tests: new guidelines published

DNA staircaseWell here must have been something in the air, because no sooner had I written about the problem with risk assessments from three genetic testing companies (well, okay, so I was writing about the report written about genetic testing companies that was published in The Times – see The trouble with risk assessments…) than here’s the Department of Health issuing press releases on how they’re clamping down on these very services.

The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) has developed new guidelines for these tests – which were previously unregulated. And not before time, either. Now, the testing companies will have to follow basic principles of consent, data protection, scientific rigour and balanced interpretation of results.

Public health minister Anne Milton, speaking in an official capacity this time, I presume, said: “People deserve to have confidence that the tests they choose are evidence based and that they fully understand what the results mean.

“I am pleased that the UK’s Human Genetics Commission is showing much-needed leadership in cracking down on this. These principles are a timely, appropriate and proportionate response to the growth in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing industry and I hope they bring much needed reassurance to patients.”

Now, let’s see if they fix the risk assessment problem, and we can all feel confident about getting our DNA analysed. Er, on second thoughts…

Posted in General health, Mind/body.

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