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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs