Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Michael Eisen defends 23andMe against the FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration has asked 23andMe to stop marketing their genetic test product. The company will test your DNA for the presence of several genetic markers that might indicate a predisposition to disease. The FDA is concerned that 23andMe is not doing enough to ensure that its tests are accurate and the advice it gives is medically sound.

Michael Eisen is on the Scientific Advisory Board for 23andme. He responds to the controversy: FDA vs. 23andMe: How do we want genetic testing to be regulated?.

I think some of his points are worth discussing. My position is that the links between certain diseases and certain SNPs are not well-established. The scientific literature on this topic is not all that great and many of the published results have not been repeated. What this means is that private companies like 23andMe are under pressure to be the first to include a new link in their database but may not be exercising the appropriate amount of skepticism.

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