Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-03 > 1110411670

Subject: DNA Direct and Genelex
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 18:41:10 EST

Martha saw/heard a news item about DNA Direct, probably something along the
lines of this Associated Press item I found at

At-home gene tests grow in popularity: MARKETING TROUBLES SOME DOCTORS

I visited the website, and I came away rather impressed with the way they are
handling genetic testing. The news item wasn't completely accurate about some
things, for example, the new breast cancer testing costs more, and the lowest
cost test ($586) is just for one marker, which has previously been identified
in a particular family. For example, a woman's sisters or daughters could be
tested without going through the medical system. The background material at
DNA Direct seems to be carefully prepared, and they have genetic counselors on
staff, too.

Many people don't realize that all genetic tests look for very specific
mutations. DNA Direct also has a panel of three tests for mutations common in
Ashkenazi Jews, but the full panel, testing hundreds of known mutations, costs
$3,312. Even that panel tests only the most common mutations in populations
already studied, and might not be suitable for say African-American women, who have
a different set of mutations inherited from different ancestors.

One of the tests is for hereditary hemochromatosis, which we have discussed
on this list before because it has also been used in population migration

Moving on to Genelex, it's by coincidence that another PR news item came
through today.

=== begin news item

DNA-based Personalized Medicine Training Announced by Genelex

SEATTLE, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers are clamoring for DNA testing
because it has the potential to immediately begin reducing the more than 100,000
adverse drug reaction deaths and 2.2 million serious events that occur every
year in the U.S. An explosion of recent scientific research, improvements in DNA
testing technology and the implementation of clinically relevant information
systems provides the knowledge needed for the testing to enter the mainstream
of medical practice. Pharmacogenetic DNA drug reaction testing will also help
reduce the estimated $180 billion dollar annual cost to the healthcare

Howard Coleman, founder of Genelex states, "although Pharmacogenetics will
soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary, it is still not being widely
integrated into medical practice. The main barriers causing this are an unmet need for
education and a lack of knowledge of the availability and impact genetic
testing will have on the safety and efficacy of medicine."

To bridge this gap, Genelex is offering a series of web seminars on DNA
testing and personalized medicine aimed at providing healthcare professionals,
policy makers, reporters and patients with the necessary background knowledge
to make educated healthcare and treatment decisions. The seminars are
presented to registered users over the Internet and are tailored to individual
audiences. Seminars are limited in size to allow for time for questions and answers
and include a slide show tailored to the specific audience, and based on the
latest in pharmacogenetic DNA testing methods. Programs currently scheduled
-- DNA Testing and Personalized Medicine: A Media Briefing.
March 17, 2005. -- Use and Availability of DNA Testing: For the
Health-conscious Consumer, March 22, 2005. -- Clinical Pharmacogenetics: A
Primer for Healthcare Professionals, March 31, 2005.
All seminars will run approximately 45 minutes, including time for
questions and answers. To register please contact Gitana Sones at 800-523-3080 Ext
2853 or email . Howard Coleman, who will be presenting the
seminars, has extensive experience in making DNA testing understandable for a
wide range of professional and lay audiences.

Genelex Corporation, Seattle, Washington is a DNA testing laboratory
dedicated to bringing the benefits of pharmacogenetic drug reaction testing to
patients and their physicians in order to reduce the high levels of morbidity and
mortality that result from adverse drug reactions.

SOURCE Genelex Corporation

03/09/2005 11:01 ET

===== end news item

I will probably sign up for the seminars, but I have some reservations about
the way Genelex markets its products. This topic also came up in my
discussions with Kim TallBear. She tells me that Genelex advertises heavily in "Indian
Country Today." Even aside from the whole issue of whether DNA testing is
appropriate for tribal enrollment policies, I was flabbergasted to see that Genelix
charges $395 for the same DNAPrint test that can be obtained directly from
DNAPrint for $219. Trace Genetics also sells DNAPrint at a more modest markup
($250), but they include their own interpretation of the results.

Other offerings from Genelex give me pause, too, e.g. the nutrigenomics
panel. I don't doubt that there are individual differences in nutritional
requirements, but I do doubt that the state of the art warrants DNA testing. Genelex is
essentially a paternity testing lab (accredited for that purpose) which is
branching out into other fields, including Y and mtDNA testing for genealogical
purposes. That seems to be more common -- we recently had a thread about a
different company with a similar name, Genex. This whole business of marketing
affects the general genealogical community.

Ann Turner - GENEALOGY-DNA List Administrator
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