You are probably all familiar with the widely available genetic ancestry testing kits that are advertised frequently on TV and in social and print media like 23 and Me and AncestryDNA. You might not be aware that there are now over two dozen companies offering this kind of testing to the general population! This speaks to the widespread interest in learning more about our ancestry as well as potential health conditions that might be lurking in our genetic code! But these tests aren’t cheap and before shelling out the big bucks, it’s important to really understand what information they can provide and what your results might mean! I’ve posted a recent article from Science on The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testing.
Part 1: Read that and then I want you to do your own internet search…find an article or site that discusses the pros and cons of these tests to share with the group. Consider some of the following questions when drafting your post: What do you think of these tests? Would you pay for one? Would you take one if they weren’t cost-prohibitive? What part of the information they can provide is most interesting to you? Do you think the average person understands these tests and their meaning? Can you think of any negatives to making this kind of testing widely available?
Part 2: Please place your initial post, respond to at least 2 of your peers’ posts
After reading this article I feel that it is less likely that I would purpose a genetic ancestry test. I think they can be fun however, they might not be applicable in a medical setting. Purchasers of these products should take the information they learn with a grain of salt. Especially because they match with DNA within their database, these databases are for-profit, and their databases are not peer-reviewed. I think a danger of these tests is taking the information to heart especially when the genetic tests provide information on health, longevity, and athletic ability. The one positive a see in these tests is that individuals are able to gain access to scholarships, housing, and educational opportunities by finding out information about who their ancestors are. This can provide a considerable amount of comfort for some.
Considering there is some risk and uncertainty of current tests’ accuracy I wonder if the growing feeling of Epigenetics, which considers how our ancestor’s life (trauma, good and bad choices) and our lifestyle choices directly affect our DNA by switching on and off of genes. I think if they were to take epigenetic factors into consideration it might help to improve the accuracy.
I reviewed an article for the University of Michigan that also considered the pro and cons of genetic testing. Above I mention how genetic tests can be a comfort to individuals, however, they can also reveal mutation which could affect individuals in their lifetime or their children (Joy, 2017). Rajani Aatre, a genetic counselor at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center points out, “The science is easy to process; the emotional component is not” (2017).
Aatre points out that a lot of consideration should be put in before purchasing a genetic test kit, even a recommendation from a primary care physician she suggests should come first before purchasing. Some pros are finding any possible mutations or becoming aware that there is no or only a small amount of risk of contracting a certain disease, and it can help to determine which medications would work well for the patient, and what lifestyle changes might be supporting the individual and their family. Cons are that not everyone is eligible for testing unless indicated by red flags in their family history, screening is tailored to specific areas (they cannot receive testing for everything), and testing might uncover information that is emotional to process. Additionally, insurance may only cover newborns, mothers who are expecting, and patients that qualify based on their family history.
Bolnick Et Al, D. B. (2017, October 17). The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testing. Science.Org. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1150098
Joy, J. (2018, October 2). What are the pros and cons of genetic testing. Michigan Health. https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/health-management/pros-and-cons-of-genetic-testing-what-to-know-before-you-go
After reading a couple articles on genetic ancestry and whether or not its a good idea to get one, I think they’re not as important as I originally believed. before reading the articles, I thought it was an amazing discovery and that I have always wanted to get my own, but never ended up doing it because of the price. However, now I am glad I haven’t received on of the tests since most of the information provided from them aren’t as accurate as I once thought. When I found out they could be up to 900 dollars just to get a test that isn’t as accurate as many think, I came to the decision I would never spend more then double digits to receive a test like that. if it was extremely close to being accurate however, I would possibly invest the money to find out about myself. I think the most interesting information they provide is the ethnicity, but it depends on where you live and other variables to see if its correct. When they talked about Middle East have native American ancestry, there is no correlation to support this thus making it false, but in other cases its true. its important to understand your situation before going in on it. Since I consider myself a pretty average person, I didn’t have any of the understanding that I have now after reading the articles. I thought it was almost 100% accurate and I assume most other people think its pretty close to that as well. Unless people do their research before purchasing the tests, I doubt they understand the meaning and the tests. I think the negative side effect of this is that if a bunch of people found out that they aren’t that accurate, then people wouldn’t spend the money on them and then it would force them out of business because the revenue wouldn’t match what they need to conduct the tests.