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Genet Med. 2012 Oct;14(10):860-7. doi: 10.1038/gim.2012.67. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Public awareness and use of direct-to-consumer personal genomic tests from four state population-based surveys, and implications for clinical and public health practice.

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Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Direct-to-consumer personal genomic tests are widely available, but population-based data are limited on awareness and use of these tests among the general public in the United States.


We assessed awareness and use of direct-to-consumer personal genomic tests in Connecticut, Michigan, Oregon, and Utah using the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and compared the state results to the 2008 national HealthStyles survey results.


Awareness was the highest in Oregon (29.1%) and the lowest in Michigan (15.8%). Factors associated with awareness across all states and nationally were higher education, higher income, and increasing age, except among those 75 years or older. Less than 1% of respondents had used the tests, with about one-half to three-quarters of those sharing the results with a health-care provider.


Awareness of direct-to-consumer genetic tests is greater in this study as compared with a related study conducted in 2006, whereas use is similarly low in both studies. The few respondents who reported using the tests often reported sharing their results with their health-care provider, indicating an important opportunity for health-care providers to offer patient education regarding these tests. Public health agencies have important roles in surveillance, education, and policy development on direct-to-consumer genomic tests.

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