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J Community Genet. 2010 Sep;1(3):101-106. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Where are you going, where have you been: a recent history of the direct-to-consumer genetic testing market.

Abstract

In recent years, various private companies have been marketing and offering genetic tests directly to consumers. This article reviews the recent history of this commercial phenomenon. In particular, we discuss and describe the following subjects: (1) the factors that allowed for the creation of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing (GT) market; (2) information regarding the size and potential success or failure of the DTC GT market; (3) recent changes in the DTC GT market; and (4) the recent events that may have an impact on the regulatory oversight of DTC genetic testing and the future evolution of this market. This review of factors suggests that despite the possibility of a change of business model as well as increased regulation, the commercialization of genetic testing is here to stay. As such it is important to pay close attention not only to the science underlying these tests but also to the ethical, legal, and social issues.

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