I was reading the NY Times on Sunday (3/21/2010). I do that. In the Business section there was an article about the relatively poor sales of the direct-to-consumer genetic tests offered by the startup company 23andMe. Other competitors in this market have done even worse. Several scientists interviewed in the article said basically that there is very little predictive medical value to these SNP profile tests. Then they interviewed Esther Dyson, who is apparently on the board of directors of 23andMe. She provided this clunker of a quote:
Ms. Dyson called it “appallingly paternalistic,” to think consumers could not interpret genetic information without help of a doctor. “People can understand statistics about baseball,” she said, “and I think they ought to understand statistics about genetics.”
Does this not trivialize all of the work of medical geneticists, biostatisticians, and bioinformaticians. Is our work really no more challenging than interpreting baseball statistics? Gee thanks Ms. Dyson.