Anodyne DTC genetics

The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed by Matt Ridley, on the topic of possible regulation of consumer genetic testing. He writes that after years of relative non-interest in such tests, he ordered his own because of the likelihood that the FDA will limit their ability in the near future.

The champions of regulation respond that some firms in the direct-to-consumer genetic-testing industry are sometimes much exaggerating the health benefits of genotyping. As I said above, most results are anodyne and close to useless in terms of telling you how to live your life, but that is not how it sounds on the websites. However, this is not an argument for FDA medical-device regulation or requiring doctors' prescriptions before testing. It is an argument for plain, old-fashioned truth-in-advertising regulation of the kind effected by the Federal Trade Commission.

The AMA always seems to think it's fighting Doc Brinkley. Personally, I'd say the supplement industry is a far greater threat to the public health than DTC genetic testing, and is surely a better use of the FDA's time.

UPDATE (2011-04-24): More on Gene Expression. Much tweeting of the final line of the op-ed, as well:

Genetic knowledge, whether the high priests like it or not, is going to be a crowd-sourced phenomenon.