The New World of Genetic Testing: Making Sure it Works For You
In 2003 scientists completed a map of the human genome, the whole sequence of DNA that directs a person's physical development. Continued advances in our knowledge of genomics offer the potential for genetic testing that can help large populations avoid disease. Genomics could yield improved medical treatments too.
Many new genetic tests are in development. Consumers, clinicians, and public health officials hoping to utilize these tests have to make decisions, often with complicated, confusing, or incomplete information. Government and private agencies in the U.S. and abroad are seeking ways to make those decisions easier. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) National Office of Public Health Genomics launched the Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention (EGAPP) project. EGAPP is a model project intended to develop and evaluate a process for the impartial and evidence-based assessment of genetic tests and other genomic applications. A panel of independent, non-governmental experts has been assembled to develop a framework for evaluating the evidence and making recommendations.
The science related to genetic tests is new and complex. Many interrelated issues must be sorted out before a system for evaluating the tests can be put in place. To help explain that process, this site offers detailed information and references on a number of related topics.