Since its creation in the 1950s, genetic testing has transitioned from a scientific theory to one of the pillars of American healthcare and a popular consumer product. Major biotechnology companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com have helped to grow public knowledge regarding genetic testing, and today, more than 30 million people around the world have undergone genetic testing. However, while the test has become commonplace, many Americans still hold several misconceptions regarding genetic testing. Brad Schaeffer, the founder of Medcomp Sciences, is a major proponent of genetic testing sciences and believes in the future of genetic testing within the healthcare field. Below, Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences hopes to dispel some of the most common misconceptions regarding genetic testing and highlight the many benefits of this incredible science.
Siblings Have the Same DNA Makeup
After receiving genetic testing results, siblings will often be surprised to see that they have a different ethnic makeup than their siblings. This stems from a common misconception regarding biology. When first learning about DNA, biology teachers will often tell their students that they receive 50 percent of their DNA from each parent. Although siblings will receive the same percentage of DNA from each of their parents, they will each receive their own unique combination of the mother and father’s DNA.
DNA Tests Only Show Health Risks and Ancestry
Within the past five years, personal genomics and biotechnology companies Ancestry.com and 23andMe have become the two most used companies for direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Both ancestry.com and 23andMe offer similar services, predominantly ancestry and health genetic tests. Due to the growing popularity of these two companies, many Americans today associate DNA tests solely with detecting health risks and obtaining ancestry reports. However, DNA testing can also be used to learn more about patient’s metabolism and discover what dosage is appropriate for them, what medicines are most effective for treatment, and what drugs patients should avoid based on their specific genetic variations.
You Cannot Use Results for Making Healthcare Decisions
Since first being introduced to the market, genetic tests have changed significantly. While some genetic tests may not have been reliable enough to help determine healthcare decisions, this is no longer true. Today, genetic tests can fall into two general categories, direct-to-consumer, and consumer-driven testing. Direct-to-consumer testing, otherwise known as DTC tests, have been tested by the FDA and are now labeled as vitro diagnostic tolls and are regulated similar to any other medical device. Additionally, “clinical grade” consumer-driven tests are ordered by physicians and medical personal for medical diagnosis and only performed at diagnostic laboratories.