Background: There has been exponential growth in the number of direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits sold in the past decade. Consumers utilize direct-to-consumer genetic tests for a number of reasons which include learning about one’s ancestry and potential ways to manage health. Emerging adults tend to be early adopters of new technologies; however, there has been little research regarding the opinions about direct-to-consumer genetic testing in emerging adults.
Methods: Data came from a study conducted in an upper-level biology course focusing on understanding undergraduate science students’ overall experiences with receiving personalized genetic testing results from 23andMe. The present study used data collected at the baseline assessment which assessed their opinions and attitudes about direct-to-consumer genetic testing (N=133).
Results: Over 80% of participants would recommend direct-to-consumer genetic testing options including carrier status reports, DNA ancestry reports, wellness reports, and trait reports to others. However, participants were not as confident that others would be able to accurately interpret their test results. Additionally, more than two-thirds of the participants stated that they would ask a healthcare provider to help interpret their personalized genetic test results.
Conclusions: Participants lack confidence in both their ability to interpret their own results and others to interpret their results. It is important for direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies to educate consumers before providing results in order to minimize potential harms due to misinterpretation of results. Further research is needed to assess motivations to participate in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, impact of testing, and understanding of genetic testing results in emerging adults.
direct-to-consumer genetic testing, personalized genetic testing, consumer genomics
Genetics | Psychology
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