The direct sale of genetic profiling does more good than harm

Author: sarahwornow7 | Last modified: July 16, 2018, 5:49 p.m.

PRO (4 arguments)


Direct Sale: Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers and individuals away from a fixed retail location.

Genetic Profiling: Genetic profiling involves the analysis of genes for sequence variations that have clinically or otherwise been determined to be relevant in identifying individual characteristics or as a determinant or predisposing factor in health and disease.

Weighing Mechanism: Judge, when you are weighing this debate, you should weigh it on whichever side proves it can help the business and consumer more.

More info:

1. Claim: Direct sales of genetic profiling helps you quickly and easily find out if you have diseases.

Genetic profiling has helped people find out if they had diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, huntington’s disease,  and age-related macular degeneration.  Also, the results of the profiling has allowed for future generations to be informed about a genetic disease. For example, if a genetic profiling results in a man with a defect in his genes, his child would have a 3% chance of also inheriting that same mutation. In total, over 79% of all genetic profiling tests have been proven correct. This is according to The Princeton Medical Review. Also, the results are easily returned to you, quickly and efficiently. You either receive them in the mail or over the internet. That means you don’t have to go out of your way to pick up your results from an office.

2. Claim: Genetic profiling is reliable and can help decrease health risks.

Every organization and company that performs the tests has found over 95% of disease variants known so far. Thus meaning they can find almost anything. Also, these tests have proven to be 79% reliable, according to BBC. Also, judge, genetic profiling requires a small amount of DNA to work, meaning less mistakes are made. In fact, according to the New York Times, there have been an average of 5 mistakes in 2012 of the tests.


If someone knows that they have genes predisposing them to a particular disease, then they can be more vigilant to other symptoms of that disease and also discuss further clinical tests for the disease with their doctor. The percentage of our health dictated by our genetics and the faction by behavior and environment depends on individual diseases. Some diseases are entirely genetic and they are called 100 percent penetrant. Diseases such as Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease and Downs syndrome are purely genetic. Other, more complex diseases such as Type 2 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis have a significant behavioral component. That means that even if a person has a genetic predisposition towards the disease there is a lot one can do behaviorally to prevent it.

3. Claim: Genetic profiling helps solve crimes.

Profiled offenders are 23.4 percent more likely to be convicted of another crime within three years than their unprofiled counterparts. Among offenders, this effect is particularly large for those profiled after multiple convictions and for offenders released before age 25—prime crime-committing years, according to past research. The effect is much smaller for those profiled after their first incarceration. Larger DNA databases were associated with lower crime rates from 2000 to 2008, the study finds. The estimated magnitudes imply that one common policy proposal—expanding databases to include individuals arrested (but not convicted) for serious felonies—would result in a 3.2 percent decrease in murders, a 6.6 percent decrease in rapes, a 2.9 percent decrease in aggravated assaults, and a 5.4 percent decrease in vehicle thefts. In contrast, the marginal cost of preventing a serious offense using DNA profiling is only $70—and falling, Doleac says. “My back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that DNA databases are between 100 and 1,000 times more cost-effective than these other common law enforcement tools.” The cost of collecting and analyzing each DNA sample is less than $40, according to a US Department of Justice estimate, and less than $20 in several states. And judge, The chances of one individuals DNA profile matching another persons are extremely small about one in a billion.


Compared to fingerprinting or eyewitness testimony, which both have inherent flaws and inaccuracies, DNA evidence is a highly effective way to match a suspect to biological samples collected during a criminal investigation.

Because of its accuracy, criminal lawyers increasingly rely on DNA evidence to prove a defendants guilt or innocence. DNA evidence has also exonerated people through postconviction analysis of biological samples. Since DNA analysis didnt exist until recently, a reexamination of evidence collected during older investigations can reveal that the DNA profile of the person convicted of the crime does not match the DNA profile from biological samples collected at crime scenes.

4. Claim: Genetic profiling helps identify people.

DNA profiling is often used in disaster situations when many individual bodies need identifying. The Fromelles Project in northern France is using DNA analysis to help trace First World War soldiers who died at the Fromelles battlefield. Scientists are hoping to match records of lost soldiers to human remains from the site. The project collects DNA and other information from potential relatives who believe their ancestors fought at Fromelles. It also involves forensic archaeology, genealogy and anthropology. DNA analysis was also used to identify bodies at the World Trade Center after 9/11. Family Tree DNA claims that it can determine within a "99.99 percent probability of y­es or a 100 percent probability that no relationship existed" in the case of matching with an ancestor. You can even trace your DNA into where you came from, such as Europe, or South Africa. A DNA test can provide valuable information about biological relationships between potential living relatives. These tests can provide information that can lead to linking common ancestors and answer otherwise unanswered questions about a person's family tree. The results of a genetic profiling could help you find unknown family members and provide information that leads to finding out what geographic location your ancestors migrated from.

CON (4 arguments)

1. Claim: Direct sales mislead the customer.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic profiling are sold directly to the consumer, without the mediation of a healthcare professional, typically via the Internet. This means the genetic profiling may not even be correct or have the right information. Customers purchasing DTC genetic tests usually send a saliva sample to a company and receive their results via mail or uploaded onto an online account. Is this keeping their information safe or secure, judge? No. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office investigated further ten DTC genetic profiling companies. Its investigators noted that the different companies provided the same consumers (the same DNA sample was sent to several companies) very different risk profiles for the conditions they claimed to test, such as prostate cancer and hypertension. So, judge, these companies are all different, because they did not give the same results to the same DNA sample. Further more, the authors of various genetic profiling websites noted that only slightly over a third (38%) of their sites supported their claims with scientific evidence. An analysis of sixty-four organisations promoting (even if not always selling) genetic profiling noted that only 13% presented information on the limitations of the tests and current science behind them

2. Claim: Direct sales of genetic profiling don’t allow you to consult with actual physicians and doctors before or after the test.

A recent analysis of the content of twenty-nine Direct To Consumer genetic profiling websites found that three (10%) provided an opportunity to talk to a healthcare professional before the test and four (14%) offered such an opportunity afterwards. Also, according to BBC, when consumers of genetic profiling don’t get the opportunity to consult physicians after their results, the consumers begin to feel helpless and couldn’t understand what the results meant. In fact, over 79% of consumers who received genetic profiling in 2010 did not receive any consultation with physicians after the test.

Not only that, but even if these patients did consult with a physcian, the doctor would not be able to answer the question asked. According to NY Times, when patients asked their doctors about their results on a genetic profiling test, over 89% of those doctors couldn’t answer correctly. This is because they did not get the proper training to answer these types of questions.


New York TImes

3. Claim: The results of genetic profiling are not always correct.

Many genetic profiling tests look at only a small number of the more than 20,000 genes in the human body. A positive result means that the testing laboratory found unusual characteristics or changes in the genes it tested. Depending on the purpose of the test, a positive result may confirm a diagnosis, identify an increased risk of developing a disease, or indicate that a person is a carrier for a particular disease. It does not necessarily mean that a disease will develop, or if it does, that the disease will be progressive or severe. In fact, in over 97% of patients worldwide who got a genetic profile, they did not get the disease they were told they were going to get, according to The Princeton Medical Review. A negative result means that the laboratory found no unusual characteristics or changes in the genes it tested. This could mean that a person doesn’t have a particular disease, doesn’t have an increased risk of developing the disease, or isn’t a carrier of the disease. Or it could mean that the test didn’t examine or has missed the specific genetic changes associated with a particular disease. In a study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, when 15 patients who had a negative result from genetic profiling tests, 7 patients became diagnosed with the disease the test said they didn’t have, meaning the patients weren’t ready.


Also, the Federal Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control say that risks of such diseases come from many sources, not just genetic changes, and that valid studies are necessary to prove these tests give accurate results. Having a particular gene variation doesn’t necessarily mean that a disease will develop; likewise, not having a particular gene variation doesn’t necessarily mean that the disease will not occur.

4. Claim: Other serious diseases can arise due to genetic profiling treatment.

Genetic tests designed to diagnose complex health states and or conditions characterized by a very poor or incomplete knowledge of genotype-phenotype correlations, and or with a very powerful gene-environment interaction, , does not allow accurate estimation of disease risk based on an individual’s genetic profile. This situation is similar to attempting to solve a jigsaw puzzle that is missing several key pieces. In these genetic tests, risk profiles are calculated on the basis of risk markers with the aid of certain algorithms. When different genetic risk markers or algorithms are employed, different risk profiles may be generated, even for the same individual. In this case, there is an omnipresent danger of obtaining a false-positive or false-negative result, which may either cause unnecessary alarm or alternatively provide inappropriate reassurance. Such misinterpretation of test results may in turn lead to the requisitioning of unwarranted, expensive, and potentially risky invasive diagnostic procedures or, conversely, could result in the individual concerned becoming less vigilant about their health. In fact,, or a government run website concerning public health awareness, found that in the year 2009, a couple receiving genetic profiling results participated in abortion because they were told their child would be found homozygous for sickle-cell anemia, a fatal disease. However, after visiting their doctors, these parents found that they didn’t have the so said disease. Yet, due to the multiple MRIs needed to reassure them, the mother  was correctly diagnosed with breast cancer. Now in remission, she wishes to remain anonymous. Clearly, genetic profiling does more harm than good.