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Genetic Testing Oversight

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Publication Date: September 2006

Publisher(s): American Association for the Advancement of Science

Author(s): Kathy L. Hudson

Topic: Health (Diseases and disorders)
Health (Licensing and regulation)
Health (Medical research and technology)

Keywords: Genetic testing; Oversight

Type: Other

Coverage: United States


A major impact of sequencing the human genome has been the ability to detect disease and the risk of disease through genetic testing. Today, there are genetic tests for more than 1000 diseases, and that number is increasing rapidly. Given the potential powerful health consequences of genetic test results, shouldn't someone be in charge of making sure that the tests are accurate and reliable?

Amazingly, in the United States no one seems to be, despite a direct congressional mandate and a very clear public expectation that there be such oversight. How has such a failure come about, and what should be done to remedy the situation?

In Science, v.313, September 29, 2006, p.1853.