Field of genes: An investigation of sports-related genetic testing

Jennifer K. Wagner, Charmaine D. Royal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Sports-related genetic testing is a sector of the diverse direct-to-consumer (DTC) industry that has not yet been examined thoroughly by academic scholars. A systematic search was used to identify companies in this sector and content analysis of online information was performed. More than a dozen companies were identified. Marketing practices observed generally did not target parents for child testing, and marketing images were mild compared to images used in popular media. Information was provided at a high reading level (industry-wide Flesh-Kincaid Grade Levels > 11). While ~75% of companies provide privacy policies and terms of service prior to purchase and ~40% provide scientific citations for their tests, <25% reported using American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited or the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) certified laboratories. Tests ranged considerably in price (~$100-$1,100) and were substantively diverse. These findings highlight the need to appreciate nuances and avoid broad generalizations of this and other DTC sectors. Utilization of consumer protections available for e-commerce generally may adequately protect DTC genetics consumers without new federal legislation or regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-137
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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