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Ensuring the appropriate use of genetic tests


Ensuring the correct use of genetic tests is an important challenge for health-policy makers. Many new genetic tests will identify susceptibility to common diseases or adverse drug responses. Some will lead to new prevention opportunities, but others will have minimal clinical value. Statutory regulation alone cannot guarantee appropriate use. Other strategies, including resource allocation and matters related to clinical governance — such as practice-guideline development and health-provider education — are also important.

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Figure 1: The discovery of a gene–disease association lays the groundwork for the development of a genetic test.


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This work was supported in part by the US National Human Genome Research Institute (W.B.). The Public Health Genetics Unit is funded by the UK Departments of Health and the Wellcome Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the authors' affiliations.

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Correspondence to Wylie Burke.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Burke, W., Zimmern, R. Ensuring the appropriate use of genetic tests. Nat Rev Genet 5, 955–959 (2004).

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