The Growth of the Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Testing Industry and its Potential Impact on the Future of Healthcare

Open Access
Author:
Miller, Anna
Area of Honors:
Information Sciences and Technology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Benjamin Vincent Hanrahan, Thesis Supervisor
  • David Joseph Fusco, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • direct-to-consumer genetic testing
  • genetics
  • healthcare
  • electronic health records
  • health informatics
Abstract:
An emerging industry in the fields of technology and biology is direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT). This industry, encompassing companies such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA, provides genetic test results directly to consumers without a medical professional acting as an intermediary. As genetics research and DNA sequencing technology improves, these DTC genetic tests have become quicker and less expensive, leading to the rapid growth of this industry. This systematic review aims to uncover the public’s perception of these services and the major motivations for pursuing DTCGT. Additionally, the potential uses of genetic data will be discussed, specifically in regards to its future utility in healthcare. Although there are various benefits of these DTCGT services, there also exists much criticism of the industry. Because there are so many concerns regarding DTCGT, several changes will need to be implemented in order for the DTCGT industry to continue to thrive. This systematic review incorporates research from the existing literature on this topic and presents both the positive and negative views on DTCGT. Using the information found within the existing research, predictions are made about the future of the DTCGT industry and the use of genetic data in healthcare.