Fifteen years ago, the DNA of the human genome was decoded. The growth in genetic testing has exploded since that time, and there are now 70,000 different types of genetic tests available.
The genetic testing market is now over $11 billion dollars a year, and is expected to grow 15 percent a year.
Genetic testing has been found very helpful for diagnosing inherited diseases and for certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. It can identify family members at risk of disease, and can even predict which types of medications or chemotherapy will be helpful in some situations. About 5-10% of cancers are thought to be caused by genetics, the remainder are caused by environmental factors such as smoking, radiation, and obesity.
Six percent of all Americans have now had genetic testing. More than half of pregnant women now have genetic testing performed.
There are many genetic tests now that are sold directly to consumers. Some of these are controversial as they are not regulated by the FDA, and have led to problems for patients such as false positive test results.