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Hum Genet. 2011 Jul;130(1):23-5. doi: 10.1007/s00439-011-0987-8. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Direct-to-consumer testing: if consumers are not anxious, why are policymakers?

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Faculty of Law and School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Direct-to-consumer genetic testing continues to receive significant attention from both the popular press and policymakers. While the demand for these services has not, to date, been significant, it nevertheless seems likely that more and more individuals will be accessing DTC services. As a result, commentators have suggested that the DTC industry requires more oversight. A common rationale for policy action is that DTC services might cause undue anxiety. However, emerging evidence suggests that this is not the case. Indeed, it appears that genetic risk information has little impact on individual behavior or anxiety levels. Though more research is clearly needed, this type of research should inform the regulatory response to DTC services.

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