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Title: State of play in direct-to-consumer genetic testing for lifestyle-related diseases: market, marketing content, user experiences and regulation
Authors: Saukko, Paula
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (© The Author)
Citation: SAUKKO, P., 2013. State of play in direct-to-consumer genetic testing for lifestyle-related diseases: market, marketing content, user experiences and regulation. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 72 (1), pp.53-60
Abstract: Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests have aroused controversy. Critics have argued many of the tests are not backed by scientific evidence, misguide their customers and should be regulated more stringently. Proponents suggest that finding out genetic susceptibilities for diseases could encourage healthier behaviours and makes the results of genetics research available to the public. This paper reviews the state of play in DTC genetic testing, focusing on tests identifying susceptibilities for lifestyle-related diseases. It will start with mapping the market for the tests. The paper will review (1) research on the content of the online marketing of DTC tests, (2) studies on the effects of DTC genetic tests on customers and (3) academic and policy proposals on how to regulate the tests. Current studies suggest that the marketing of DTC genetic tests often exaggerates their predictive powers, which could misguide consumers. However, research indicates that the tests do not seem to have major negative effects (worry and confusion) but neither do they engender positive effects (lifestyle change) on current users. Research on regulation of the tests has most commonly suggested regulating the marketing claims of the companies. In conclusion, the risks and benefits of DTC genetic tests are less significant than what has been predicted by critics and proponents, which will be argued reflects broader historical trends transforming health and medicine. Copyright © 2013 The Author.
Description: The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/>. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.
Sponsor: The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust’s Biomedical Ethics Programme (grant no. 080126/Z/06/Z).
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1017/S0029665112002960
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/24832
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0029665112002960
ISSN: 0029-6651
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Social Sciences)

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