The global direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing market has been forecast to reach a market value of US$233.7 million by 2018, with the industry being driven by the increase in aging population, and benefits such as lower costs and privacy and anonymity provided by at-home testing.
DTC genetic testing is a type of genetic test that is accessible directly to the consumer without having to go through a health care professional. Usually, to obtain a genetic test, health care professionals such as doctors acquire the permission of the patient and order the desired test. DTC genetic tests, however, allow consumers to bypass this process and order one themselves.
There are a variety of DTC tests, ranging from testing for breast cancer alleles to mutations linked to cystic fibrosis. Benefits of DTC testing are the accessibility of tests to consumers, promotion of proactive healthcare and the privacy of genetic information. Possible additional risks of DTC testing are the lack of governmental regulation and the potential misinterpretation of genetic information.
There have, however, been a number of controversies surrounding the DTC genetic testing market coming from opposition within the scientific community. Critics of DTC testing argue against the risks involved, the unregulated advertising and marketing claims, and the overall lack of governmental oversight.
DTC testing involves many of the same risks associated with any genetic test. One of the more obvious and dangerous of these is the possibility of severe misreading of test results. Without professional guidance, consumers can potentially misinterpret genetic information, causing them to be deluded about their personal health.
For more information on the DTC genetic testing market, see the latest research: DTC Genetic Testing Market
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