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Statement on Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Testing
Date:9/25/2007

Genetics Professionals Should Be Part of Genetic Testing Process Says

American College of Medical Genetics

BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- More genetic tests are available than ever before, ranging from home DNA test kits, tests that can help determine a person's predisposition to certain diseases, and even home paternity tests. Along with greater availability of genetic tests and increased Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising, however, come increased risks to the public. The American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) advises consumers to involve a genetics expert in the process of genetic testing. "We applaud efforts to educate the public about the availability of genetic testing resources to help identify and manage those at increased risk for serious diseases, but it is absolutely critical that the public realize that genetic testing is only part of the process. Genetic testing should be accompanied by appropriate genetic counseling, both in the consideration of whether to initiate testing and in the interpretation of test results. Trained genetic professionals, including M.D. and PhD geneticists and certified genetic counselors, should be sought out to perform this important role," says Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, FACMG, president of ACMG.

"Genetic testing is a technical, highly complex specialty. A genetics expert such as a medical geneticist or certified genetic counselor can help people to sort through all of the issues including family history factors and what test results may mean. Genetics experts can also help consumers wade through the numerous tests available, some of which are of dubious validity or have not met standards of clinical utility," says Michael Watson, PhD, FACMG, Executive Director of the American College of Medical Genetics.

To help the public find qualified genetic experts in their area, ACMG has developed a free online tool, Find A Geneticist, available at '/>"/>

SOURCE American College of Medical Genetics
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