Newswise — While many turn to direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits to unlock the hidden secrets of their ancestry, others seek to reveal the chance of inheriting genetically linked medical traits, including serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Celiac. However, according to geneticist, David Tegay, D.O., these test results could provide consumers with a false sense of security.

“While at-home DNA testing kits have proven consistent in determining genetic ancestry, they’re not the tests you want performed if you’re seriously trying to determine the likelihood of inheriting your family’s disease,” says Tegay, who serves as a Clinical Geneticist and associate professor of Clinical Specialties at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Although the tests may make people feel empowered and more in control of their health, Tegay notes that direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits typically only examine the most common polymorphisms, or genetic variations in DNA building blocks, thereby skewing the results. “The tests are usually only able to determine whether a person tests negative or positive for a few, but not all, mutations linked to a disease. Therefore, it’s very easy for people to fall into the trap of gaining false hope and believing that they won’t inherit a hereditary condition, when in fact there’s still so much they may not know.”

Concurrently, for those concerned about opening Pandora’s Box and revealing inaccurate results suggesting ailment, Tegay notes that analytic false positive results are rare, but advises all consumers to seek professional attention to rule out potential risk factors.

“No matter the outcome of your at-home results, they should be taken with a very large grain of salt. While these tests can provide us with fascinating insight into our family lineage, only genetic testing combined with the counsel of a qualified health care professional can provide an accurate risk assessment for hereditary disease.”

To arrange an interview or request comment, please contact Kim Tucker, NYIT Media Relations, at [email protected].