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DNA Testing Industry Wrestles With California Law

Publication Date: 
July 14, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Karen Ravn

Professor Henry T. "Hank" Greely is quoted in a Los Angeles Times story about a California Department of Public Health order "to cease and desist performing genetic testing without licensure or physician order."

Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, believes the level of physician involvement at companies like Navigenics and 23andMe may be sufficient to comply with state law. And the fact is, of course, that tests for pregnancy, glucose and blood cholesterol are already exempt from the requirement to have a physician.


One of the questions genetic testers argue about is whether genetic testing is medical or not. Professor Greely comments: "You can't sell people on the health benefits of your service and then say it isn't about medicine."


Is there a need for new rules and regulations for this new industry? Greely thinks so: "The current legislation was certainly not written with this industry in mind," he says.