There’s been some recent popularity in direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits that promise to help people learn about their ancestry, potential health concerns, or find out what diet will work best for their biological build.
The Vulcan Post team received a few kits to try awhile back, from one genetic testing company that focuses on looking into health concerns.
While we enjoyed that the process (fill out a questionnaire, spit in a tube, mail it back) was convenient and easy, we were mixed about how much we could trust the results when it told us which types of cancers and diseases we were more susceptible to, for example.
The company, Genoplan, noted that their product is not equivalent to a medical diagnosis.
Likewise, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is also emphasising that people should not use non-clinical genetic testing in place of actual medical diagnoses.
To ensure that Singaporean consumers won’t be misled as these services become more accessible, MOH is currently developing a set of guidelines for firms that provide it.
The guidelines will cover areas such as how genetic testing services can be marketed.
It aims to make sure companies provide consumers with the right information to make informed decisions about using DNA kits.
CNA reported that such genetic testing kits are not regulated under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act.
Said MOH and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), “Any results from the test should not be regarded as medical information or advice.”
For now, looking into insights from your genetic buildup can be interesting, or a way to motivate yourself towards positive lifestyle changes.
But if you’re thinking of trying it, you should be aware of its limitations.
Experts also note that global genetic databases still don’t have a lot of gene samples from Southeast Asian populations yet, compared to western populations, which can affect accuracy in determining results like health risks and ancestry.
MOH said it will continue to monitor the development of commercial DNA testing.
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