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Genetics testing: The wild wild west?


I'm fascinated by genetics testing. At one point I considered coughing up the money to get a roadmap of my own genetic makeup, but in the end, I chickened out. The big question for me was what would I do with the information once I had it? Would I endure endless sleepless nights tossing and turning over the results? Would the information and knowlege of a predisposition to illness seep into places I'd never considered it would?

To be sure, genetic testing is on the rise. Today there are more than 100 companies around the world that provide some form of direct-to-consumer testing. Some consumers use it to trace their ancestry while others seek knowledge about their risk for specific diseases. For a podcast interview I turned to Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD, one of Stanford's experts in biomedical ethics, to help me sort out the issues. Lee has been studying the implications of sharing genetic information online and she agrees with me: Right now, it's the wild wild west out there.

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