— Frost & Sullivan finds that direct to consumer genomics, which were close to absent a decade ago, are currently thriving
LONDON, Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — As the era of personalized medicine dawns on healthcare, the need to understand an individual’s genetic information through genomic testing has risen. This emerging branch of medicine has given birth to multiple companies that provide genetic tests to help end users understand their genetic profiles and assess their predisposition to inherited and terminal diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Future of Personalized Genomics, finds that with the reduction in sequencing costs, companies are providing affordable genetic tests directly to consumers through the e-commerce platform. However, the clinical accuracy of direct-to-consumer genetic tests has come under scrutiny lately. Single nucleotide polymorphism-based sequencing used in these tests is not as accurate as more expensive technology platforms such as whole exome or whole genome sequencing.
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"Stringent protocols and standardization policies need to be put in place to separate medically-viable genetic tests from the ones catering to sheer curiosity," said Technical Insights Research Analyst Madhumitha Rangesa. "The entire industry requires a gold standard approach that establishes a foundation for the development of advanced genetic tests."
Genetic information being made available to the public and stored infinitely in a virtual space will bring with it multiple safety and ethical implications. Apprehensions on the potential segregation that could take place on the basis of genetic information, especially when providing health or life insurance, cannot be ignored. The ownership rights of genetic information are not as well-regulated as medical information, making it another cause for concern.
Genetic service companies must partner with or hire genetic counsellors to clarify and explain genetic test results to end users in order to improve medical interventions, facilitate informed decisions, and raise awareness on legal issues. To ensure accuracy and credibility, small genetic testing companies are collaborating with larger laboratories that have the necessary certifications and lab protocols.
"To further enhance genetic tests, several national initiatives that boost funding opportunities have been deployed," added Rangesa. "Organizations like the National Institute of Health are heavily sponsoring academics and industrial research to encourage innovation in this rapidly-evolving landscape."
Future of Personalized Genomics, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides technology snapshots and trends in genomic testing as well as an impact assessment of key players and their pertinent business models. Frost & Sullivan’s expert analysts thoroughly examine whole exome sequencing, whole genome sequencing, SNP-based sequencing, and array based sequencing following extensive interviews with market participants. Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.
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