Genetic Testing Kit to Hit Drugstore Shelves
2010-05-12 0:00

By Katie Drummond | AOLNews.com


Some 6,000 drug stores in the U.S. will begin selling a genetic testing kit Friday, marking a milestone in access to the rapidly evolving world of personalized, DNA-based medical care.

It’s the first time a genetic test will be sold over the counter, and it is not happening without some controversy.

The product, called Insight, was developed by San Diego-based Pathway Genomics. Pathway, like several other companies, already sells similar genetic tests online. But the company, a start-up, is hoping that a savvy sales strategy can boost its numbers.


A lab technician tests DNA samples at Pathway Genomics Corp. in San Diego, Calif. The company is preparing to sell gene-testing kits in Walgreens stores next week, a step likely to generate questions about how consumers may use and understand test results that many doctors have trouble interpreting.Sandy Huffaker, Bloomberg / Getty Images

"We’re revolutionizing the way people access information about their genetics, and through thousands of convenient Walgreens locations, we’re making it easier and more affordable than ever before to order a personalized genetic report," Jim Plante, Pathway’s CEO, said in a statement.

The test, which uses a saliva sample provided by the consumer, is being marketed as a simple way to evaluate the risk of developing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. It can be analyzed to determine a person’s predisposition to blindness and obesity, as well as the odds that a user’s baby could be born with cystic fibrosis or more than 30 other genetic disorders.

Insight also evaluates one’s sensitivity to dozens of substances and medications, including caffeine and blood thinners.

But results won’t be at your fingertips. After paying $20 to $30 for the kit, a user submits the saliva sample to Pathway’s research lab, where DNA is evaluated and results are available online -- for a fee. The company is selling three different results packages, which range from $79 to $179.

Not everyone is greeting the arrival of the product in retail stores with enthusiasm. The Food and Drug Administration is already questioning the legality of the move because it hasn’t approved the test. FDA officials now plan to investigate further.

Other experts worry that the test will offer nothing more than false hope or needless alarm, because it’s too soon to be interpreting genetic markers.

"It is reckless," Hank Greely, director of Stanford University’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, told The Washington Post. "Information is powerful, but misunderstood information can be powerfully bad."

Company representatives say they’re marketing the product as a means of encouraging healthy lifestyle changes. But because some of the tests touch on such personal issues -- whether to have a child or obtain a recommended medical exam -- some critics say the results risk skewing decision-making toward recklessness or unnecessary caution.

Tests that "could lead to a consumer making a decision on whether they are going to terminate a pregnancy -- we consider that a very important decision to be made on a test that has not been looked at by the FDA," the agency’s Alberto Gutierrez told Business Week.

Pathway’s test is nothing new, but its marketing strategy is. That’s the real rationale behind the worry, according to Newsweek’s Mary Carmichael.

Those who’ve bought genetic tests online are "a selective group," who know what they’re getting into. By going retail, "the only prerequisite for coming across [Insight] and buying it is that you’re a person who shops at Walgreens," she writes.

Article from: AOLNews.com




Related Articles
According to Genomic Pioneers, the Future of Genetics is the Future of Computing
Human Extinction the Genetic Genocide a Call for the Survival of the Pure-Human Race
Optogenetics
Genetic Engineering and the Brave New World of Transhuman Machines
Newborn Genetic Screening: The New Eugenics?
New L.A. Clinic Lets Parents Genetically Design Their New Baby
Theft of Life: A story of the struggle against Monsanto and the corporate takeover of our genetic inheritance
Genetic mapping of babies by 2019 will transform preventive medicine
Depleted Uranium has Destroyed the Genetic Future of Iraq
Geneticists Discover a Way to Extend Lifespans to 800 Years
Genetic Advances To Pioneer Super-Human Elite?
Facial scans could reveal genetic disorders
Genetic Barcodes
Police say taking blood samples will help curb drunk driving
DNA identifies new ancient human dubbed "X-woman"
Obama Supports DNA Sampling Upon Arrest
The government has your baby’s DNA
Twins’ different DNA sparks parents’ divorce
DNA testing promoted to women as way to find Mr Right
Your Christmas Tree Has Seven Times More DNA Than You Do
Celebrity ’DNA perfume’ goes on sale
Swiss DNA Bank - DNA and Memories Stored in Former Swiss Nuclear Shelter
DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show
Scientists post DNA details online
Should we trust DNA?
Edit your DNA: ’Gene wiki’ to debut on Wikipedia


Latest News from our Front Page

Professor: Reason Itself Is A White Male Construct
2015-07-04 3:55
A philosophy and religion professor at Syracuse University gave an interview to The New York Times Thursday in which he critiqued the notion of pure reason as simply being a “white male Euro-Christian construction.” Prof. John Caputo was being interviewed by fellow philosophy professor George Yancy for the 13th installment of an interview series Yancy conducts with philosophers regarding racial topics. Given its emphasis on first principles ...
The Broken Window Fallacy
2015-07-04 3:48
Youtube description: This short video explains one of the most persistent economic fallacies of our day. Source: youtube.com
Jenji Kohan and the Jewish Hyper-Sexualization of Western Culture
2015-07-04 3:33
As detailed in The Culture of Critique, Freud and his followers regarded anti-Semitism was a universal pathology which had its roots in sexual repression. The theoretical basis for this can be found in Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality where he linked aggression to the frustration of human drives — especially the sex drive. Kevin MacDonald notes that: ...
Confederate History - Dispelling the Myths
2015-07-03 3:28
History books, the media, the school systems, etc abound in falsehoods and inaccuracies of Confederate and Southern history. This fact sheet will help to clarify and dispell some of these rampant inaccuracies. MYTH - The War of 1861 - 1865 was fought over slavery. FACT - Terribly untrue. The North fought the war over money. Plain ...
Gays Rights May Open Door for Pedophile Rights
2015-07-03 3:31
Democrats have attempted to normalize pedophilia as a sexual orientation. A recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage may soon allow pedophiles to argue they are suffering discrimination. “Using the same tactics used by ‘gay’ rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals,” writes Jack Minor ...
More News »