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Commentary
December 10, 2008

An Unwelcome Side Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Personal Genome Testing: Raiding the Medical Commons

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (Dr McGuire); and Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Burke).

JAMA. 2008;300(22):2669-2671. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.803

It is now possible for individuals to learn about their genetic susceptibility to dozens of common and complex disorders, such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, prostate cancer, and Alzheimer disease, without ever seeing a physician. Direct-to-consumer personal genome testing companies hope to empower consumers to take control of their health by providing tailored assessments of genetic risk based on reported associations between genomic variation and susceptibility to disease.

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