Laura Hercher on the DTC Genetic Testing Landscape

Laura Hercher, Genetic Counselor, Sarah Lawrence College, Podcast Host

Bio and Contact Info


00:00 Some DTC baggage

08:05 We didn’t see the ancestry explosion coming

13:03 That “phrase”

18:04 Is there a physician in the house?

22:27 You say, "new test." I say, "bull shit".

30:50 Different generational perspectives

34:44 The early adopters vs. those who want some healthcare

41:24 Reading the tea leaves

"DTC is now too big of an arena to put everything in the same bucket.”

This was a line from Laura Hercher, one of our monthly commentators a couple shows back. The statement made its way around Twitter, so we thought we’d have Laura back to the program and ask her to come up with some more buckets.

It turns out it’s not that easy.  Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is a dynamic and complex space in 2019, a mishmash that quite defies easy categorization.

But if anyone can do it, it's Laura.  She's the Director of Research, Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College, a fearless genetic counselor. And she hosts our sister podcast, The Beagle Has Landed, devoted to the topic of genetic counseling.

We set up the conversation with a short history of DTC testing and end with a question about whether the consumer is becoming more savvy, more knowledgeable about genetic tests.  Yes, she says, but warns that the disinformation campaigns are becoming equally sophisticated.

With her characteristic cut-the-crap style, it’s Laura Hercher talking the world of DTC testing, past, present, and a little into the future.