News / USA

US Blocks Sale of a Company's Mail-Order Gene Tests

This image provided by 23andMe shows the company's logo. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is ordering genetic test maker 23andMe to halt sales of its personalized DNA test kits.
This image provided by 23andMe shows the company's logo. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is ordering genetic test maker 23andMe to halt sales of its personalized DNA test kits.
U.S. health regulators have ordered a genetic-testing company to stop marketing its mail-order test kits, saying consumers might get false results that cause them to undergo unnecessary medical procedures.

A start-up company called 23andMe has been selling its $99 kits for five years. It had started a new marketing campaign before the government's Food and Drug Administration halted its sales until the firm proves that its tests are accurate.

The health regulators said they were concerned about "the public health consequences of inaccurate results."

The 23andMe name is a reference for DNA being organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes. It is one of several companies selling such test kits in the U.S. and has financial support from Internet search engine Google and a prominent U.S. pharmaceutical, Johnson & Johnson.

The company says it has traced the genes of more than 475,000 customers. It says the saliva-based test it uses can identify more than 240 genetic traits that could help people assess their health or risk of diseases.

But the government said a false positive from the tests could lead women to undergo unnecessary surgeries for breast or ovarian cancers, or a false negative could result in people failing to recognize actual risks.

The company acknowledged it had not met the regulators' timeline for submitting test results and said it would address concerns about its test kit.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Steve from: Minneapolis
November 27, 2013 7:33 AM
The results give a percentage of risk. I ordered 23&ME a year ago and found it to be very interesting. I never even thought to use it as an absolute for diagnosis of a disease- just a percentage of possibility. Finding distant cousins has been very
enjoyable.

by: Erik from: Texas
November 26, 2013 12:06 PM
This is ridiculous. Oh no! What if a false positive happens?!? What if false negative!?!? What if?!? WHAT IF??!

These tests are just for informative purposes only! It only tells you that you have an increased or decreased risk. Nothing more. You take this info to your doctor and you let them figure it out.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs