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Wojcicki Says Consumers Can Handle Results

People don't need experts to understand their genetic risk information, writes 23andMe's Anne Wojcicki in an opinion piece appearing at Stat News.

Following the announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration had given 23andMe the go-ahead to sell its genetic health risk report on three BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, some experts cautioned that the testing could mislead people to think they weren't at risk of disease when they were or that they might not grasp the subtleties of what testing can and cannot show.

But Wojcicki says this worry is misplaced. She writes at Stat News that there were similar concerns when at-home pregnancy tests were introduced and that those, in hindsight, appear overblown.

Instead, she argues that people can take better control of their health if they have direct access to their information.

Further, she says that in order to offer their BRCA1/BRCA2 report, they had to show consumers would understand their genetic risk information as they presented it to them, and that they disclose that the test doesn't capture all BRCA variants and is not diagnostic.

"As is the case for at-home pregnancy tests, I believe that years from now we'll look back and wonder why we questioned that individuals would be able to understand and responsibly act on carefully delivered health information," Wojcicki writes.