Home DNA Test: Are They Safe & Can You Handle The Results?

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Home DNA test kit (submitted photo)By Staff Blogger

Available at drug stores across the country are home DNA tests that you can use to check to see if you are at risk for a host of different diseases or disorders. The test only costs $99. Would you want to know what your potential medical future holds, or would you rather ride it out and worry when the time comes?

In 2003 a breakthrough came in the science world when human genome mapping was discovered. There are now over 900 different tests that can predict risk for certain conditions or diseases. For those who want to know about their future risks, companies such as DNA Traits, 23andme, GenePlanet, and DNA DTC all provide at home tests that you can complete. There are even some companies that can tell you how you will react to certain medications, tell you about your ancestry, and even tell you about your personality and character traits!

The home DNA test market is hoping to reach one million consumers by the end of the year. Is it safe to open up this new world of genetic screening to the average consumer? Should they know this information without speaking to a doctor first?

Advocates for the home tests say that it is a great way for patients to prepare themselves and become informed about the risks of their future health. Critics are questioning how accurate the test really is. The Federal Trade Commission warns that some of these tests lack scientific validity, while others are very good.

When you take the test you simply swab your cheek, send it in to the company, and they will analyze the DNA. Once they are done you can look on their website for your results. This could open a whole new world of diagnostic medicine, or it could open doctors up to a host of hypochondriacs.

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