55 Percent of Americans Think That You Should Be Allowed to Buy Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests



In November, the Food and Drug Admininstration ordered the direct-to-consumer genotype screening company 23andMe to stop selling its Personal Genome Service to the public. Why the ban? Because the agency bureaucrats fear that Americans are too stupid to handle the information supplied by the company. The company has agreed to stop selling to new customers, but will still provide updates to current customers. The December Reason-Rupe Poll asked:

Do you think the government should prohibit people from [Buying genetic testing kits that provide information about a person's DNA (such as information about risk factors for certain diseases)], or should the government allow people to do this?

• Prohibit………………………………………….37%

• Allow……………………………………………..55%

• DK/Refused………………………………………8%

But the FDA thinks it knows better than the majority of Americans.

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  1. No knowledge for you pleb. All your DNA are belong to us!

  2. How is this even a thing? This is the most ridiculous thing to ban ever! The fact that 45% of people are in the “ban it” or “i’m on the fence” categories is downright scary.

    1. My thoughts exactly. The results of most of these polls terrify me. I’m starting to think you could get 45% to agree that chocolate chip cookies should be banned.

      1. Start it off with a scare line about diabeetus, and maybe add in something about “all of the processing that goes into it”

        Maybe start with oatmeal raisin, though. I bet you would get a higher percentage with that.

        1. Maybe start with oatmeal raisin, though. I bet you would get a higher percentage with that.

          With or without walnuts? I’ll back you if we’re banning oatmeal raisin with walnuts, but I’ll wage a long guerrilla war against your efforts (read that as baking and disseminating baked goods) if we’re talking about pure oatmeal raisin.

          1. That was a “run the cookie banning flag up the pole, see who salutes”.

            You fascist.

              1. Damn it. I suppose I’ll just show my way over to the libertarian purging room.

  3. Jeeeminy Goatfucking Christmas.

  4. That’s pretty sad. It’s good that most people are against a ban, but this shouldn’t even be an issue. How can anyone think this is something that should be banned? Do people really think that there will be a spate of people hacking off healthy body parts based on one not-too-specific genetic test?

    1. These are likely people that:

      a) Have no clue what companies like 23andMe actually do.
      b) Have no basic knowledge of genetics or a cursory knowledge of its recent advances.
      c) Would read an Angelina Jolie/BRCA hit-piece off of Gawker as the basis of their opinion.
      d) Believe whatever the government tells them to believe.

    2. I think the original argument was that the results are suspect due to methodological flaws. It’s still dumb because they explain where they’re getting their info from and how much research actually agrees with those results, but they do have a number of results based on extremely small studies. I’ve also been surprised by some results and then found that they only apply to east Asians or something like that, but they’re listed under my results.

      Nothing there warrants the ban hammer though.

      1. I found them to be accurate in some key regards (i.e. carrier status of recessive genes, I have PKU and the 23andme test showed my father and I both as carrier status). Also, their relative finder is highly accurate. Identified a cousin of mine I hadn’t spoken with in 15 years who must’ve taken the test as well.

        1. I’ve found my results interesting. I don’t have any close family members who have taken the test (and my family is riddled with adoptions making it more complicated). As long as you read the sections about how sure they are about any given results I think it’s very useful.

  5. I don’t give a flying fuck what 45% of people think. Seriously, fuck the majority, fuck democracy, and fuck anyone who thinks they can have a say in whether I get to know about my own DNA. This is beyond ridiculous.

    1. I thought you had your DNA encrypted?

      1. There goes ProL again, displaying his ignorance for all to see. You can’t encrypt DNA, ProL. If you could, we’d encrypt yours and bury it under a volcano so it could never be passed on.

        1. Sure you can. Your problem is that you can only pass on the much simpler mRNA.

  6. Does it matter? I mean, it’s information, and we have freedom of speech, so it doesn’t matter if a majority doesn’t like the speech.

    Legally, even today, the FDA really is on bad legal ground unless it can show that the information involves unsubstantiated claims or is somehow misleading.

  7. Probably you would net a good number opposed to “Allowing testing of one’s blood” too. Maybe a better question would be: “Would you agree the government should ban testing of your DNA if, by doing so,
    you wouldn’t be permitted to find out if you had risk for Multiple Scolerois, or some other deadly disease?”

  8. But the FDA thinks it knows better than the majority of Americans.

    Well, given that an even larger majority of the American people think that TSA agents should be armed, it’s pretty easy to know better than the majority of Americans. (Given the ease of achieving that goal, it’s a little surprising the FDA couldn’t meet it. Well, maybe not.)

  9. They didn’t ask permission. Sure, that permission might take years, and millions in lobbying to achieve.

    Apparently, at this point, you have to ask for permission for everything.

  10. 100% of H&R commenters think threads should not be disappeared!
    I posted this in this thread yesterday:
    The idea of the general will is at the heart of Rousseau’s philosophy. The general will is not the will of the majority. Rather, it is the will of the political organism that he sees as an entity with a life of its own. The general will is an additional will, somehow distinct from and other than any individual will or group of individual wills. The general will is, by some means, endowed with goodness and wisdom surpassing the beneficence and wisdom of any person or collection of persons.”
    IOWs, such idiocy is neither new nor totally ‘populist’. Just idiotic.

    1. I think maybe they realized they had gone on poll result overload and saved this one for today. I saw it in my RSS reader but when I clicked on it, it was gone.

      1. How can there *ever* be too much of Emily?
        (oops; this is Bailey. You’re right!)

    2. What’s absurd is the idea that we need god-leaders to tell us what the volont? g?n?rale is. Screw that. I’m not only better placed to know my needs, I also have much higher incentives to make the best decisions for me and my family.

      1. You’re gonna have to make that point to whatever imbeciles think Rousseau was a deep thinker.
        Not me.

  11. Coincidentally, I believe that 37% of people should be thrown in a meat grinder because they respect the rights of others so little, I refuse to respect theirs.

  12. These are the same people who are are afraid of GMO crops. They think genes are evil, bad things, that are man-made.

  13. I sent a link about a story like this to my GF when it first broke. I was a bit disappointed when she didn’t immediately know where I came out on the story. I was further shocked that although she wasn’t in favor of banning it, she understood where the government was coming from.

    Her- “People will have unnecessary surgery! They’ll think they actually have cancer versus only being at risk for it!”

    Me- “Doctors will not perform unnecessary surgeries without further testing. Even if people think they have cancer, they will go to the doctor and find out they don’t.”

    Her- “Okay then they’ll go to another doctor!”

    Me- “Who will tell them they don’t have cancer.”

    Her- “You’re being mean again.”

    1. Remind her that some of those people will have a cancer they didn’t know about, and catching it early will save their lives.

      Unless that would be mean.

      1. No, see, that’s not necessary, because if you have that risk, then it’d be in your family and you’d know about it. /gf

        Even if you think this test is unnecessary, what is the point of banning it? I see no downside whatsoever, and plenty of upside. As others mentioned above, poll results like this actually scare me.

        1. So your gf hates adopted people?

          1. And people who are estranged from their families.

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