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Kristin Niendorf, a genetic counselor at the U of M, says over-the-counter genetic testing kits can be a problem because people don’t fully understand what they are doing.

U of M expert cautions against over-the-counter genetic testing

June 8, 2010

How enticing is it to know it may be possible to determine the chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder through an over-the-counter purchase of a genetic testing kit?

Genetic testing has quickly become a popular technique that can either confirm or rule out gene conditions, vulnerabilities and inherent diseases. Yet, issues of ethics, confidentiality, and accuracy arise with genetic testing and over-the-counter kits.

A University of Minnesota expert that can discuss this issue is:

Kristin Niendorf, genetic counselor, University of Minnesota

While the genetic testing debate is still going Niendorf, a genetic counselor at the U of M, weighs in on the topic and explains why genetic counseling is a necessary part of the process.

“Seeing a genetic counselor will help you understand the test, know what the best test is for you and also help you with concerns about the impact on your family, the costs, the potential concerns you have about discrimination.” In addition, Niendorf says over-the-counter genetic testing is a problem because people don’t fully understand what they are doing. Niendorf strongly recommends seeking assistance if the decision is made to pursue a genetic test.

To view or embed a video interview featuring Niendorf discussing the issue of over-the-counter genetic testing, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGQUiGbSC_0.

To interview Niendorf, contact Nick Hanson at (612) 624-2449 or hans2853@umn.edu.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University of Minnesota News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit http://www.unews.umn.edu. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

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videoVideo: The problems of over-the-counter genetic testing kits 

Video: The problems of over-the-counter genetic testing kits