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IWA Coffee Shop Debate @ Chapter - There's an SNP for that

3rd September 2013

Chapter, Canton, Cardiff 6.30pm - 7.30pm

We have SNP for that: exploring users’ engagement in direct-to-consumer genetic testing with Dr Michael Arribas-Ayllon.

Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, a new medical model has emerged called ‘personalised medicine’. Personalised medicine promises the customisation of healthcare by tailoring products, treatments and decisions to an individual’s genomic profile. One of the most significant commercial developments in this area is the birth of ‘personal genomics’ – companies that offer DNA testing to identify common mutations (SNPs) associated with disease. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is controversial, to say the least. Current debates focus on whether such tests are clinically valid, misleading or ethically inappropriate. The model that presides in the US is that individuals should have the right to access, share and interpret their genetic information with the hope of modifying their lifestyles to avert such risks. Not much is known about how people actually use this information. In this presentation, I review the debates surrounding direct-to-consumer genetic testing and provide examples from my own research of how people are using genetic data to make sense of their illness.


Michael is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. He has worked on numerous projects exploring the social and ethical impact of genetic testing. Michael’s current research is tracing subsequent developments of genomic technologies. One branch pursues the impact of direct-to-consumer genetic testing and the ways in which lay communities use and interpret genetic information. 

To register your place please call the IWA on 029 2066 0820 or email

Entry is free