Mail-Order Genetic Testing Public Forum
Author: Angela D. Abel (503-725-3773) Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: March 6, 2006

With the recent attention and controversy over genetic testing, students at Portland State, as part of their Senior Capstone, will help lead a public forum on the ethical and scientific implications in mail order genetic tests, Monday, March 13, 2006, from 2–4 p.m. in the Smith Memorial Student Union, room 238 (1825 S.W. Broadway).

Tens of thousands of Americans are using an estimated 6,000 genetic and DNA home tests, and sending in DNA using mail-order genetic tests in order to find out more about their personal ancestry, identity, true parentage, inborn talents and chances of obtaining a wide range of diseases. Paternity, nutrigenomic, pharmacogenomic, and presymptomatic cancer screens are among the array of options in this emerging marketplace. These tests represent a set of benefits and risks, many of which are not apparent in the literature provided to consumers. Many ethical and scientific questions are raised about this issue including the use of the information, reliability and who is accountable for how the data is interpreted.

A public forum sponsored by Geneforum, “Mail-Order Genetic Tests: Is Your DNA in Good Hands?,” including Portland State Senior Capstone students in the “Democracy, Ethics and Civic Discourse” class, healthcare professionals and policy makers will address and discuss these issues. The event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact Greg Fowler at 503-636-3627 or

About Senior Capstone
Senior Capstone is the culmination of the University Studies program. Capstone courses are designed by Portland State University's faculty to build cooperative learning communities by taking students out of the classroom and into the field. In Capstone courses, students bring together the knowledge, skills, and interests developed to this point through all aspects of their education, to work on a community project. Students from a variety of majors and backgrounds work as a team, pooling resources, and collaborating with faculty and community leaders to understand and find solutions for issues that are important to them as literate and engaged citizens.

About Geneforum

Geneforum is a non-profit founded in Oregon in 1998. The organization's mission is to promote civic discourse about genetics through public education, engagement and consultation. Geneforum was established to ensure that the decisions about genetic research are informed by public values. Geneforum's approach is similar to the widely respected and extensively field-tested model of public engagement created by Oregon Health Decisions in the 1980s.

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For Immediate Release (#06-036)

Source: Greg Fowler (503-636-3627)
Executive Director, Geneforum