WASHINGTON — Would you want to know if you
Curiosity about ancestry is the main reason. But large segments of the public also want to know if they're at risk for various medical conditions — even if they can't do anything about it. In fact, 60
The question is how they'd handle that information. For most diseases, whether you get sick depends on a mix of genetics, lifestyle and other factors.
"It's really important for people to understand that it is a risk, not a destiny," said Erica Ramos, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.
LOTS OF TESTS TO CHOOSE FROM
Genealogy buffs can get clues about ancestry. DNA testing can help diagnose symptoms, predict risk of later health problems, or tell if prospective parents might pass on diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Doctors can tell if certain medicines are more or less likely to work based on genetics, what's called precision medicine.
Some gene tests require just a credit card and mailing in a saliva sample, while others need a doctor's order — and there are important differences.
WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW
Younger adults especially want to know what health conditions might lie ahead. Among those under 30, more than two-thirds are interested in genetic testing and of those, 65
If they're at risk for an incurable disease, 78
And if they got that bad news, 8 in 10 people of all ages would tell siblings and children, family members who might
WHO GETS TESTED
Those living in households making $100,000 a year or more are most likely to have had a gene test. Direct-to-consumer tests are paid for out-of-pocket, but insurance may cover DNA tests deemed medically necessary.
TRUSTING THE RESULTS
Most people think genetic testing is at least somewhat reliable, but less than half call it very or extremely reliable, the poll found.
DNA testing isn't foolproof, said Ramos, the genetic
The flip side: False reassurance. Direct-to-consumer tests for breast cancer risk, for example, only look for a few mutations. If cancer runs in the family, you may need a doctor-ordered test that examines a variety of genes and mutations, Ramos said.
PRIVACY IS COMPLICATED, TOO
Half of Americans are very or extremely concerned about companies sharing their genetic data without their knowledge, and roughly a third have the same concerns about medical researchers and doctors, the poll found.
Remember how investigators used a free genealogy
Crime aside, federal law offers some privacy protections for DNA testing in medical settings — but check privacy policies on direct-to-consumer
The AP-NORC poll of 1,109 adults was conducted June 13-18 using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.
AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/
Lauran Neergaard And Emily Swanson, The Associated Press