Aug 20, 2019 | Updated: 11:45 AM EDT

FDA Approved 23andMe To Sell Genetic Tests

Apr 10, 2017 01:20 AM EDT

A civilian scientist working in the Broward County crime lab handles processed DNA extractions that were taken from blood samples of convicted criminals July 13, 2000 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
(Photo : Robert King/Newsmakers)

23andMe was the first company approved by FDA to directly sell genetic tests to consumers. The 23andMe is a company based in Mountain View Calif.; the authoritative decision is expected to open direct tests for disease risks.

Currently, the only way for people to get genetic tests is to have an appointment with a medical professional. The intervention offered by 23andMe eliminates the hassle and providing convenience to the public. According to The New York Times, the process for customers is simple; a customer spits into a tube and then mails it to 23andMe.

The next step then involves laboratory extraction of DNA from the customer's saliva and tests it with probes that locate genetic marker by utilizing a special chip for genotyping. In the span of 6 to eight weeks, 23andMe will confirm the availability of the results through email. The customer will now be able to see the report and interpretation by logging into an online account. The results of the genetic tests do not only include the genes for disease risk but also the report of ancestry.

23andMe will now be reporting genetic markers for 10 diseases through their offered genetic tests. The tests can be purchased with the amount of $199 showing results of health and ancestry tests including results of mutations that increases the risks predisposing certain diseases. The consumers, however, need to specifically state what information they want.

As reported by Genetics Home Reference, genetic tests have potential benefits because it can provide a sense of relief from uncertainty and gives an idea to people on how to prioritize their health. A negative result can eliminate the demand of unnecessary checkups and diagnosis cutting off additional costs and hassle. A positive result, on the other hand, can help an individual towards possible treatment approach, prevention, and monitoring.

However, when one is healthy, a positive result does not always mean he or she will develop the disease while a negative result does not always guarantee an individual to be free from certain disorders. Asking help from a genetic counselor, physicians, and some health care providers are still the best way in the process of genetic tests.

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