Ancestry.com Inc. in Provo, Utah, Pathway Genomics Corp. in San Diego, and 23andMe Inc. in Mountain View, California, are among almost 40 companies worldwide that sell such products. Officials from these enterprises should meet with geneticists, physicians and U.S. agencies to “brainstorm” about ways to improve their tests and databases, seven scientists said in a report published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
“The time is now for no-holds-barred discussions among the players, particularly among scientists who must more purposefully and constructively critique one another’s premises, methodologies, findings, and interpretations of findings,” said the authors, led by Charmaine Royal, an associate research professor at Duke’s Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, in Durham, North Carolina.
Consumers shouldn’t jump to conclusions about lineage, or where ancestors might have lived, on the basis of genetic ancestry tests, said Joann Boughman, executive vice president of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Bethesda, Maryland- based organization that sponsored the study.
“It’s not that we don’t think ancestry is important or interesting -- we think it is,” Boughman said yesterday in an interview. “But these tests are complex, and there may be more variation” in a person’s roots “than is implied.”
You can read more in an article by Molly Peterson published in Business Week at http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-13/ancestry-gene-tests-need-firmer-science-report-says-update1-.html