I Had My DNA Picture Taken, With Varying Results | NY Times

An interesting look at direct-to-consumer DNA testing. Interpretation by these companies can be quite variable:

In the case of Type 2 diabetes, inconsistencies on a semantic level masked similarities in the numbers. G.T.L. said my risk was “medium” at 10.3 percent, but 23andMe said my risk was “decreased” at 15.7 percent. In fact, both companies had calculated my odds to be roughly three-quarters of the average, but they used slightly different averages—and very different words—to interpret the numbers. In isolation, the first would have left me worried; the second, relieved.

Not to mention the limitations of the technology these companies employ (SNPs v whole genome sequencing). Craig Venter, who led one of the teams that first sequenced the human genome, is quoted in the article:

“Your results are not the least bit surprising,” he told me. “Anything short of sequencing is going to be short on accuracy — and even then, there’s almost no comprehensive data sets to compare to.”

Genomics will play a role in the future of medicine, but we’re not quite there yet.