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February 23, 2015


It sounds like there's an opportunity for a secondary market in genetic counseling. Do any other readers know if that's a profession regulated by the FDA or by any states? If it is, is providing interpretation of results such as 23&me's, and providing genetic counseling services, something that could be done offshore, via the internet, to avoid regulatory barriers (and is it the sort of service for which one would seriously consider engaging an unlicensed person)?

There is a flourishing secondary market for interpreting the raw data provided by 23andMe. The genomic data can be downloaded and analyzed by programs such as Promethease (which is an ironic name to patent professionals). Other specialty databases such as Mthfrsupport.com analyze particular genetic polymorphisms such as methylation defects.

Genetic counselors in the U.S. are typically medical practitioners regulated by their state's medical boards. I believe that MDs, RNs and nurse practitioners may be genetic counselors in California, if they have sufficient training in genetics. PhDs can fulfill the same roll, in collaboration with an MD or medical center. Frankly, if a person goes to anyone else for genetic counseling, they're looney.

Not sure the need for an MD is universal; it looks like there are masters level genetic counseling programs - the accreditation information is at:

As an MD I would disagree that MDs and genetic counselors should be the sole source of genetic counseling. The medical profession is far too slow to accept new technologies, unless they are advocated by well-funded corporate interests with their own agendas. A patient's direct access to genomic information would be the most direct method to stimulate the use of this transformative technology. If enough patients start asking about their genetic test results, the medical profession may begin to pay attention to their importance and more broadly incorporate genetic testing into routine medical care.

Bill Noonan,
Genuine question, could you please help me to understand what about the name 'Promethease' is ironic to patent professionals?

respond here and/or email [email protected]

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