Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MS Human Genetics


Human Genetics Graduate Program


The direct-to-consumer (DTC) industry is about a decade old; however, recent years have seen an increase in visibility and uptake due to decreasing prices, television advertisements, and other factors. In the 2018 DNA Day Essay Contest, high school students were asked to research a genetic disorder and to formulate a stance on whether medical professionals should be required for all genetic testing or if consumers should have access to direct-to-consumer testing. Within the 400 coded essays, 80.5% said yes to having a medical professional required and 20.5% said no. Qualitative analysis of the essays revealed the following major themes: benefit of medical providers, consumer knowledge lacking, negative psychological effects, informed consumer, DTC testing companies knowledge lacking, accessibility of DTC testing, accessibility of medical professionals, DTC testing company can use information against the consumer, and insurance companies can use information against the consumer. Although most of the essays agreed to have a medical professional involved in DTC testing, many students cited similar reasons supporting their claims, regardless of their overall opinions of whether or not medical professionals should be involved.