May 20, 2019

The downside of the genetic testing boom

DNA fingerprinting and relationship testing. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS/Getty Images

Genetic testing is advancing and evolving so quickly that it's causing chaos for some patients, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Driving the news: Patients may receive one diagnosis and begin treatment, only to receive a different diagnosis a few years later through more advanced testing.

Why it matters: Genetic testing and the medical breakthroughs it's led to are good things. But the WSJ's reporting highlights that actually living through these rapid scientific advances can be challenging and emotional.

Details: Commercial testing spiked after scientists successfully sequenced the human genome in 2003. A study last year found that there are about 75,000 genetic tests that are used by doctors on the market.

  • Another study done by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that, out of more than 300 epilepsy cases, nearly a third of the children had a change in diagnosis because of the emergence of new genetic data.

Go deeper: Genetic testing firms share your DNA data more than you think

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