On Monday, new guidance will be issued reminding GPs not to take the results of “direct-to-consumer” genomic tests at face value.
Personalised medicine based on genomics promises to revolutionise survival across a spectrum of conditions thanks to its power to predict disease in an individual person and then tailor treatments to them.
Cancer patients in particular are already benefiting. But accuracy relies on assessing a patient’s personal genetic information against as large as possible a pool of other genomes.
The NHS has already amassed more than 100,000 whole genomes, and is operating seven genetic hubs to support doctors.
Home testing kits often rely on a relatively small and occasionally out-of-date bank of genetic data, the RCGP experts warned on Friday.
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Genomic data will certainly have a vital part to play in the care we deliver to patients in the future – and in some instances, it already is.
“But we have concerns about directto-consumer genetic testing, which is being increasingly offered commercially, as the results are not sufficiently reliable and could cause undue worry or inappropriate reassurance”
Experts have advised families of patients with rare and difficult to diagnose conditions to seek advice from charities instead of turning to the kits.