Third Party Interpretation (TPI) services are online tools that analyze your raw DNA data reports from direct-to-consumer companies or genetic testing laboratories and provide you with a genetic health risk report. Most of their recent popularity has come from people who do ancestry and lifestyle testing through online direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies. Once an individual undergoes ancestry or lifestyle testing, these companies give him or her the option to obtain a raw DNA data report. These reports can be directly uploaded to a TPI service of your choice. There are many TPI services online, most are relatively inexpensive or free and provide you you’re your genetic health risk report in a short period of time.
A genetic health risk report from a TPI service is not a diagnostic test result. The DNA analysis done through direct-to-consumer companies and TPI services does not look at your genetic code in as much detail as a clinical (medical) genetic test would. Rather, they look for certain markers that have been found to be associated with specific conditions in certain populations. Sometimes these associations are weak, or only relevant to certain groups of people.
While it can be fun and exciting to explore your genetic code through TPI services; it is important to understand that there can be false positive results. This means that a TPI service report can show that an individual has an increased risk for a serious health condition when they really do not have that risk. Clinical (medical-grade) genetic testing is always necessary in order to confirm the findings of a direct-to-consumer genetic test or any results found by a TPI service.
A clinical genetic test may also confirm a positive TPI health report. In this case, an individual may require additional medical management. As such, whether you are considering uploading your raw DNA data to a TPI service, or have already received a health risk report and need help understanding it, it is important to seek help from a health professional trained in medical genetics such as a geneticist or genetic counselor.
You can get in touch with a genetic counselor in your area by visiting: www.findageneticounselor.com