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AMA advises doctor’s help with DNA tests

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People ordering DNA scans from private companies should work with a doctor to understand the results of the tests, U.S. health experts said.

Independent investigations have found the major direct-to-consumer genotyping firms to be more than 99 percent accurate in finding variations linked to certain traits, diseases and drug sensitivities, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The services of companies such as 23andMe, Navigenics and Decode Genetics can guide people toward appropriate medical care and motivate them to live healthier life, advocates of the tests said.

Critics, however, said the companies oversell their insights and produce reports medically untrained people might misunderstand. Anyone ordering the tests should be working with a doctor, said the American Medical Association.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is studying whether the firms and their services – which range in cost from $100 to $100,000 – require federal oversight, the Post reported.

© 2010 UPI. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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