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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Guidelines issued for internet genetics tests

4th August 2010

Experts have produced guidelines for the makers of genetic tests available for people to carry out at home.


The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) is worried that people are buying tests from the internet and performing them at home without having enough information and advice available to them.

Many companies offer consumers DIY tests so they can assess their danger of diseases including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes.

Customers perform a test by taking a cheek swab, which they can then send off to a lab to be analysed.

The HGC said testing for diseases such as cancer should only be carried out when a person can receive counselling prior to and after the tests.

It also said patients should be given more data about how genetic testing is performed and what the results meant.

HGC chairman Dr Jonathan Montgomery said the guidelines were "a bit like a kite mark for the industry. There is more to be gained from codifying good practice than pushing for regulation or legislation."

Public health minister Anne Milton praised the HGC for "showing much-needed leadership in cracking down on this".

"People deserve to have confidence that the tests they choose are evidence based and that they fully understand what the results mean", she said.


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