Friday, July 3, 2009

US - The Illusive Gold Standard in Genetic Ancestry Testing

"The Illusive Gold Standard in Genetic Ancestry Testing" published in the 3 Jul 2009 issue of Science Magazine calls for federal (US) regulation of genetic ancestry DNA testing. The authors are: Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Deborah Bolnick, Troy Duster, Pilar Ossorio, and Kimberly Tallbear.

Dr. Blaine Bettinger provides an overview and critique on the article in his blog, "The Genetic Genealogist".

The article cites the American Society of Human Genetics' recommendations on ancestry testing but injects opinion as well with statements like, "...the false assumption that contemporary groups are reliable substitutes for ancestral populations..." and "...the lack of transparency regarding the statistical methods that companies use to determine test results".

The authors suggest that federal agencies should set industry standards and be responsible for accountability although they acknowledge that "how these regulations will be put in place is going to be a struggle between various parties that have shown little indication that there will be a compromise that will be acceptable to all."

Two press releases were issued as a result of the article: "
Stanford Bioethicist and Colleagues Call for Federal Regulation of Genetic Ancestry Testing" and "Tougher controls sought for DNA ancestry testing" in which the latter cites the now defunct company, AncestrybyDNA.

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