Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2020634
 


 



Redeeming the Genetic Groupon: Efficacy, Ethics, and Exploitation in Marketing DNA to the Masses


Jessica D. Gabel


Georgia State University - College of Law

March 28, 2012

Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 81, No. 3, 2012
Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-14

Abstract:     
From mild curiosities to very sober considerations, more Americans have taken steps to crack open their genetic codes and obtain information on everything from global origins to drug interactions to inherited illness mutations. The idiosyncrasies and unique characteristics revealed by these tests lend more validation to the notion that we are more than just another brick in the wall.

The availability of direct-to-consumer genetic testing has skyrocketed in comparison to its non-existence only a decade ago. No longer in its infancy stages, these commercially available genetic tests offer a wide range of services to consumers beyond diseases prediction, including intelligence measurements, compatible mate matching, and “DNA Tribe” identification, a growing number of individuals send the DNA samples to these companies with little understanding of the scope of their consent or whether they maintain any rights or interest in their DNA. Moreover, the accuracy and reliability of such services largely remains untested.

My article argues that genetic profiteering runs the risk of generating genetic misinformation. As the industry currently stands, Genetic Groupons overpromise and underdeliver. In this article, I discuss the ethical implications of marketing DNA to the masses and the need for balanced regulatory oversight. First, I follow the evolution of genetic services, from the educational and medical mainstays to the current regulatory scheme that applies to them. Second, the article considers the predictive and predatory capabilities of “DIY DNA,” where customers collect and mail in their own DNA swabs for various services. In the final section, I discuss the regulatory scheme that must be considered with Genetic Groupons. Although currently untouched by the FDA and ignored by the FTC, there is room for regulation that encourages innovation, protects privacy, delivers scientifically defensible results, and, of course, allows for profit.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 77

Keywords: DNA, genetics, genetic testing, testing kits, FDA, FTC, drug, privacy, direct-to-consumer genetic testing

JEL Classification: K19, K32, K39

Accepted Paper Series





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Date posted: March 28, 2012 ; Last revised: July 30, 2013

Suggested Citation

Gabel, Jessica D., Redeeming the Genetic Groupon: Efficacy, Ethics, and Exploitation in Marketing DNA to the Masses (March 28, 2012). Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 81, No. 3, 2012; Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-14. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2020634

Contact Information

Jessica D. Gabel (Contact Author)
Georgia State University - College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

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