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Not for the Littlest

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing has accuracy and privacy issues that make it inappropriate for newborns, reports AAP News.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which publishes AAP News, recently affirmed its 2013 stance it had issued in conjunction with the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics that DTC genetic testing is not appropriate for newborns.

In particular, it says such tests focus on adult-onset diseases and so treatment is not needed during childhood. Further, AAP News says testing can lead to ethical issues as it can take away a child's right not to know. Additionally, test samples collected by DTC firms are then owned by them and could be sold, it says. "So, in a sense you've taken away this child's right to privacy," the University of Chicago's Lainie Friedman Ross, lead author of the policy, tells AAP News.

At the same time, AAP News notes there's no oversight of the tests and their validity can vary from lab to lab. Even if the results are valid, it notes that the field has been moving quickly so that results a parent gets now for a child have may a new interpretation later in that child's life.