DNA Today has just wrapped up their second series of 2020, exploring the landscape of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing over seven episodes. Experts in the field were interviewed by host and genetic counsellor, Kira Dineen.
The new series featured the lead of the 23andMe medical education team, Anne Greb. Listeners were also able to hear directly from other DNA testing companies including Fulgent Genetics and JScreen. Excitingly, authors Adam Rutherford and Libby Copeland joined the team to discuss their new books which explore how at-home genetic tests can affect our lives. Many areas of DTC DNA testing were analysed throughout the series, including pharmacogenomics, ancestry, carrier/newborn screening, COVID-19, cancer, and many more!
The series kicked off with Jeanette McCarthy, MPH, PhD, who is a UC Berkeley trained genetic epidemiologist with current faculty positions at UCSF and Duke. In the episode, McCarthy discussed how the genetic testing industry has developed and some of the recent industry trends and factors impacting its growth.
The second episode was with Adam Rutherford, PhD, geneticist, author and broadcaster, who discussed his new book – “How to argue with a racist.” Rutherford explored how genetics is woven into the history of race and how DTC companies can address current racial disparities.
On the third episode, the team were joined by Jessica Shiles (genetic counsellor) and Dr. Samuel Strom (lab director) from Fulgent Genetics. They discussed Fulgent’s ‘Picture Genetic’ test kit and the value of newborn testing and screening.
The fourth episode featured Anne Greb, genetic counsellor and lead of the medical education team at 23andMe. Greb discussed 23andMe’s research and the importance of educating consumers on the implications of genetic results.
Libby Copeland, award-winning journalist, joined the team on the next episode where she discussed her new book – “The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are.” The book explores the personal, familial and ethical implications of recreational DNA testing.
The sixth episode explored genetic testing technology with Michael Schnall-Levin, Senior Vice President of Product, Research and Development and Founding Scientist at 10x Genomics. Schnall-Levin delved into next-generation and single cell sequencing and bioinformatics, as well as the future of genetic testing.
During the final episode in the series, the team were joined by Melanie Hardy, Assistant Director of JScreen Genetic Counselling Services (part of Emory University School of Medicine). In the episode, Hardy discussed carrier screening, including the methods, limitations and value of genetic counselling.
The series was sponsored by Fulgent Genetics, Advanced Tele-Genetic Counseling (AT-GC), and GenoBank.io. For discounts on their products or service check out DNA Today’s sponsor page.
Over the past 9 years, DNA Today has produced over 130 episodes exploring genetic concepts like genetic counselling, CRISPR and genetic testing. Host Kira Dineen interviews experts in the field like award-winning New York Times columnist and author Carl Zimmer. The team also recently won the “Best 2020 Science and Medicine Podcast” at the Podcast Awards.