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Little More Regulation Wanted

Some physicians in the UK are calling for tighter regulation of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, the Guardian reports.

This, it says, follows a spate of patients whose tests incorrectly told them they had disease-linked mutations when they did not. As the Guardian notes, the most popular DTC firms — Ancestry and 23andMe — provide results for few ancestry and health markers, adding that 23andMe has a US Food and Drug Administration-approved test for three BRCA mutations found most often among individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

But the Guardian points out that consumers can download their data from these firms and upload it to other services such as Promethease and LiveWello that they provide information on a wider range of mutations. Though those third-party firms caution that the results shouldn't be considered a medical diagnosis, physicians tell the Guardian that both other doctors and consumers might not know how untrustworthy those results may be.

"I'm not saying ban these tests, but they need more regulating," Anneke Lucassen, a clinical geneticist at Southampton University and chair of the British Society for Genetic Medicine, tells the Guardian.