10 Reasons NOT To Take a DNA Test

10 Reasons NOT To Take a DNA Test

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted February 4, 2008 in DNA Testing

stop lightSome thoughts on why a person might NOT want to take a DNA test.

  1. You have no idea what DNA is and where it is found in your body. (Although you can easily bring yourself up to speed by reading 100 Facts About DNA.)
  2. You are on a tight budget and your health insurance won’t cover the cost of DNA testing. (On the other hand, you could raise money publicly like Andrew Meyer at Buzzyeah.)
  3. You believe that ignorance is bliss.
  4. You think genetic test results are no better than what you’d get going to your local psychic.
  5. You’re not convinced that genetic discrimination can be totally banned.
  6. You are not at high risk of an inherited disease because you live a healthy lifestyle and do not have a positive family medical history. (Of course, there are other more fun reasons to get genetic testing, such as genetic genealogy.)
  7. You are not prepared to share your DNA test results with family members yet will feel guilty if your results have implications for their health or family relationships, e.g., BRCA breast cancer and ovarian cancer gene or non-paternity event.
  8. You are not ready to accept any results from a genetic test that do not confirm your pre-existing beliefs. For example, a person with a family history of Huntington’s disease may be shocked to find that they do not carry the HD gene mutation.
  9. You are not prepared to change your lifestyle even if you are found to have a mutation that increases your risk of a specific disease that involves both genes and environment, e.g., coronary heart disease and obesity.
  10. You are a fatalistic person and will let genetic information control your life.

What other reasons can you think of to convince someone NOT to take a DNA test?

(27 comments)


goldfade-divider-custom.gif

Related Posts:
HairDX – Genetic Test for Male Pattern Baldiness...
Singapore Company DNA Dynasty Will (Not) Tell Your Children’s Future...
HPV DNA Test for Cervical Cancer...
Fetal Gender DNA Tests Answer Common Pregnancy Question…Or Not...
Curious Genetics and DNA Google Ads...
Dr. Robert Marion on Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing...
Eye on DNA Interview: Terry Carmichael, VP of Marketing & Sales at Consumer Genetics...

RSS feed

27 Comments

Comment by WTJ

Don’t want the DNA test result used to clone a perfect you.

Thanks, WTJ! FYI, there can be no perfect clone of me because all would pale in comparison to the original. ;)

Comment by Amber Subscribed to comments via email

Nicely put.
ha ha ha ha

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by MW Subscribed to comments via email

12. Already happy with my life
13. Technology is still in its infancy
14. Don’t have extra money to pay insurance after testing
15. Don’t want to wait for diseases that will never come

Hi, MW! Some great reasons. I’m also really glad to hear you’re happy with your life!

 
 
Comment by Andrew Meyer Subscribed to comments via email

Hsien, great post!

Note to readers: If #2 is your only reason… start a blog and raise it!

Andrew, You underestimate your own personal charisma and initiative. It ain’t that easy to make money off a blog!

 
 

[...] always intriguing Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei wrote a piece today titled 10 Reasons NOT to Take a DNA Test. At the end, she asks, “What other reasons can you think of to convince someone NOT to take a [...]

 
Comment by Kaila Colbin Subscribed to comments via email

Hey there Hsien,

Thought-provoking as always! I put up a more thorough response on my blog today, but the upshot of it is this: you don’t need it. Any health-affirming choices you want to make can be made without the benefit of DNA testing.

I’ll request the following post from you, though: what are 10 reasons you SHOULD take a DNA test?

Thanks for your thoughts, Kaila! Medical genetic testing can help many people make informed choices about their healthcare. The difference is between those with a family history of inherited diseases or other risk factors vs those who may or may not be at increased risk of common diseases due to a genetic variation with small effects. Does that make any sense?

I may or may not come up with a list of 10 reasons to take a DNA test. I suspect some people would accuse me of being a shill for the industry if I were to do it. ;)

 
 
Comment by NAN

Someone else may copyright your genes… (Thanks Michael Crichton)

NAN, Michael Crichton isn’t the only guy who’s been thinking about the issue of gene patents! Thanks for your comment. :)

 
 
Comment by David Bradley

@WTj,Hsien presumably there can be no perfect clone of any organism because there will always be at least one mutation in the process…you might get 99.9995 or whatever, but that cosmic ray, or particle of polyaromatic hydrocarbon, or stray photon from a UV light will inevitably cause a mutation.

db

 
Comment by Rebeccca

You are deathly afraid of someone scrapping cells off the insides of your cheeks with a Q-tip?

 
Comment by Larry Moran

I may or may not come up with a list of 10 reasons to take a DNA test. I suspect some people would accuse me of being a shill for the industry if I were to do it.

Hmmm … you post a list of ten reasons NOT to do something and one of them is “You believe that ignorance is bliss.”

Nobody is fooled by this. What you’re saying is that, in your opinion, you need to have a reason NOT to take the test because taking the test is the logical thing to do.

Yay! Larry’s here. Let the party begin.

 
 
Comment by Kristen King Subscribed to comments via email

Larry, there are a lot of people out there with inherited genetic mutations that lead to diseases who are getting major pressure from their physicians and family members to get a genetic test to know their risk of actually becoming ill. Huntingtons’s and breast cancer are two big ones that come to mind, also mentioned in the post. It doesn’t look to me at all as though Hsien is suggesting that you’re illogical for not wanting a DNA test. It sounds like she’s pointing out that there are people who would just rather not know, and that’s a legitimate reason not to do it. (See 7-10).

It sounds to me like what you’re saying is that you are opposed to genetic testing. So just say that!

Kristen

 
Comment by lisa

You are afraid the test might inadvertantly uncover “a nonpaternal event” or show that your parentage is not what you think it is.

 
Comment by Larry Moran

Kristen King says,

It sounds to me like what you’re saying is that you are opposed to genetic testing. So just say that!

I’m not opposed to genetic testing. What I’m opposed to is the promotion of private for-profit genetic testing for the average person who doesn’t understand the ramifications and/or the limitations.

I don’t have a problem with genetic testing that’s done in collaboration with a genetic counselor.

Lisa says,

You are afraid the test might inadvertantly uncover “a nonpaternal event” or show that your parentage is not what you think it is.

Exactly right. Since we know that the frequency of “nonpaternal events” can be as high as 5% in some cases, we should make damn sure that the people who swab their cheeks and plonk down $1000 know what might happen.

It won’t be long before we have reliable tests for one hundred or so genetic predispositions—or more likely “presumed” predispositions. That means that everyone will likely test positive for one of two of them.

Does everyone reading this honestly believe that the general public is prepared to handle that kind of information? Remember, these are people who don’t believe in evolution and think homeopathy is effective medicine.

 
Comment by Kristen King Subscribed to comments via email

I’m not opposed to genetic testing. What I’m opposed to is the promotion of private for-profit genetic testing for the average person who doesn’t understand the ramifications and/or the limitations.

Larry, that is the whole point of this post: understanding the ramifications and why people may choose NOT to undergo genetic testing. You seem to be arguing against the very nature of the post, when if fact it supports what you just said. What am I missing here? Hsien isn’t promoting it. She’s discussing it.

Kristen

 
Comment by Kristen King Subscribed to comments via email

Oh, and as a afterthought…

Does everyone reading this honestly believe that the general public is prepared to handle that kind of information? Remember, these are people who don’t believe in evolution and think homeopathy is effective medicine.

Evolution is a theory, not a fact, and homeopathy is effective medicine. What do you think they used for thousands of years before big pharma came on the scene? Complementary and alternative medicine is a large and well-respected field with significant clinical evidence speaking to its effectiveness. Are you saying that people who don’t believe in the theory of evolution (which, for the record, has numerous holes in it) and take echinacea when they feel a cold coming on are of lower intelligence and reasoning capability than others? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.

Kristen

 
Comment by Kaila Colbin Subscribed to comments via email

16. You don’t want to be dropped by your insurance if you should uncover something hoary.

 
Comment by Kristen King Subscribed to comments via email

@kaila – that is a GREAT one.

kk

 
Comment by Larry Moran

Are you saying that people who don’t believe in the theory of evolution (which, for the record, has numerous holes in it) … are of lower intelligence and reasoning capability than others? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.

Yes, with respect to evolution, that’s what I’m saying.

People who don’t accept science (evolution) have no credibility when it comes to discussing genetic testing.

 
Comment by Kristen King Subscribed to comments via email

People who don’t accept science (evolution) have no credibility when it comes to discussing genetic testing.

I’m not sure what your experience has been with people who believe in creation over evolution, Larry, but I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone, creationist or evolutionist, who denies the existence of DNA or genetic mutations. I just don’t see how you can possibly believe that people with a well-reasoned believe in a creator “don’t accept science” and are therefore incapable of having a valid view when it comes to genetic testing. That is a big jump in logic from where I’m sitting.

Kristen

Comment by Barry Starr Subscribed to comments via email

Gosh these comments are certainly going far afield! Thought you might be interested in http://www.kqed.org/quest/blog/2007/12/24/the-creation-of-a-controversy/

 
 

[...] kits do not provide any help; they are simply a waste of money. Maybe you want to look also at the heated blog discussion during the Just Science week 2008 I’m not opposed to genetic testing. What I’m opposed to is the promotion of private for-profit [...]

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Search Eye on DNA


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


ARCHIVE


RANDOMIZED BLOGROLL


We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health
information:
verify here.
Eye on DNA is not a substitute for medical advice. Always ask your healthcare provider or genetic counselor for information specific to you.

Mendel's Garden

Healthcare 100 - eDrugSearch.com



View Hsien-Hsien Lei, PhD's profile on LinkedIn

Bloggers' Rights at EFF