A few weeks ago we implemented a poll to go along with Bob and Laura’s posts on the new “universal genetic test” being offered by the company Counsyl.
We asked readers to vote on three different statements or present their own statement about the service. We had a total of 68 votes. Here is what we found:
- The most common response: 44% of readers believe that the test should only be offered through a medical professional
- Many respondents believe that the test is a “big step forward for couples considering pregnancy” (35%)
- 12% of respondents feel that the test is “dangerously oversold“
A small subset of readers chose to add their own response (6 total):
- Three of these readers believe the test is a good resource, but took issue with the marketing of the product, calling it “alarming” and “inappropriate”
- Another respondent believes this test “represents the future of genetic testing“
- Two respondents were particularly concerned about the detection rates quoted by the website
It is important to keep in mind that this poll was simply a fun exercise. We did not restrict the number of times a reader could vote and did not perform any statistical analysis of the results.
In any case, I am not particularly surprised by the outcome. Generally, readers of the DNA Exchange (a.k.a. genetic counsellors) believe that this info should be given in the context of genetic counselling by a medical professional. Makes sense.
I voted for the “big step forward” answer. Personally, I don’t have a problem with this particular test being ordered directly by the consumer. But, I do believe that a medical professional should be available for consultation if the consumer is seeking it. And to their credit, Counsyl has several avenues on their site for a consumer to consult a genetic counselor either pre- or post- testing. It is interesting to think about how I might have voted differently a year or two ago.
Care to share your answer here?
One response to “Counsyl Poll: The Results are in!”
I agree with the “big step forward” folks. This type of technology will change the way we practice genetics, and as forward-thinking individuals, we will better serve our profession if we get involved. That is why I have agreed to participate in Counsyl’s “genetic counseling advisory committee.” The team at Counsyl has been extremely responsive to my inquiries, and I believe they will continue to remain open to suggestions that will align their goals with that of the genetics community. As you mentioned in your previous post, “We can point our fingers at on-line testing – or we can use our fingers to point the way.”