Totally Nailed: Home DNA Tests Ruled a Scam
"GAO investigators bought tests from four genetic testing Web sites, including Market America, Genelex, Sciona and Suracell. After collecting cheek swabs from an unrelated man and woman, they used the DNA samples to create profiles of 12 fictitious consumers with different age and lifestyle descriptions.These companies sent massive packets (like, 75-pages worth) of detailed information showing extensive genetic differences between each of the 12 people they thought they tested
But the Web sites found different results for each profile.
'If the recommendations were truly based on genetic analysis, then the nine fictitious consumers that GAO created for these sites using the female DNA should have received the same recommendations because their DNA came from the same source. Instead, they received a variety of different recommendations, depending on their fictitious lifestyles,' the GAO report said."
(though there actually only tested 2), including diseases they'd be pre-disposed to, custom vitamin regimens they should take (which the companies happen to sell). The results claimed to have found "damaged genes" that would cause heart disease, diabetes, etc. Of course, at this point, there are no such gene defects: Scientists have isolated certain genes that may be connected to these diseases, but they don't know if and how these genes actually cause these problems.
You can read all the statements and see a video of the hearing here; the committee's entire massive report is here; Kathy Hudson's testimony is here, and you can check out the Federal Trade Commission's advisory against these tests here.
Since this investigation was done by a committee with no actual enforcement power, the end result of all this is a recommendation to the federal government that they require oversight of DNA testing, and a warning to consumers saying "a healthy dose of skepticism may be the best prescription," when dealing with these test results. May be? They've essentially been caught falsifying DNA results -- I'd say that warrants more than potential skepticism. I'm thinking that's grounds for full-fledged rejection. Good to keep in mind, since the companies are still operating in full force.