ARTICLE | Politics & Policy

GAO: DTC gene test results "misleading"

July 23, 2010 12:33 AM UTC

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released results from an undercover investigation on Thursday that concluded direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests from four companies provide results that are "misleading and of little use to customers." The report also noted that results of such tests are further complicated by deceptive marketing and other questionable practices, which were observed with 10 of 15 companies. GAO said its findings are limited to the DTC genetic test companies that were investigated and cannot be projected onto other companies.

The report was released at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations, which commissioned the investigation in March 2009. At the hearing, representatives from 23andMe Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.), Navigenics Inc. (Foster City, Calif.) and Pathway Genomics Corp. (San Diego, Calif.) -- who, along with deCode genetics ehf (Reykjavik, Iceland), had their tests investigated by GAO -- agreed that industry standards need to be put in place for clinical validity of DTC genetic tests. ...