Dec. 27, 2018 -- Before you browse the many genetic tests for consumers, make sure you know exactly what you want to get from a test -- health information? Ethnicity breakdown? Connection with relatives? All of the above? Then get started on your homework.
Brianne Kirkpatrick, a licensed and certified genetic counselor, suggests narrowing your choices down to companies whose websites offer the following:
- Clear samples of what you’ll get. If you’re after a pie chart that shows all the ethnicities reflected in your DNA, make sure you see it on the company’s website.
- Description of what their DNA tests tell you and the technology they use in “CLIA-certified” (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988) and “CAP-approved” (College of American Pathologists) labs. Ideally, the lab’s CLIA and CAP numbers appear on the website.
- A toll-free contact number and an email address or online chat platform for customer service.
- The names and credentials of employees, which must include a team of scientists with advanced degrees in genetics. Think twice about a company whose marketing team is bigger than its scientific team.
One last note: If a company’s claims seem too good to be true, they probably are.