Are Genetic Tests Right For You

Did you know you can order genetic tests online? These are called direct-to-consumer (DTC) because you don’t need a doctor to get one. But doing such a test might have consequences you haven’t thought about.

Below are 5 short videos of Tina, a young grad student in Genetics, who is thinking about doing various genetic tests. In each 60-100 second video, Tina talks about the pros and cons of each kind of test with a friend or family member.  Go through them one by one or choose a topic you are interested in:

  1. Introduction
  2. Family History Testing
  3. Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Testing
  4. BRCA Testing
  5. Alzheimer's Testing

1 - Introduction: Do you want to do a Genetic Test?

Watch the intro video if you want to know more about doing a genetic test!

2 - Finding surprising information about your family history

Genetic tests will tell you about your family’s history.  What if they show a family member isn’t really related to you?  Tina's friend got some unexpected results that make her worry about whether her dad is really her dad.

3 - We all carry genetic diseases

Did you know about 1 in 25 Americans of European descent carry a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis (CF)? Tina thinks she might be one of them because her nephew has CF.  She talks to her husband about doing a genetic test to see whether their future kids might get CF.   

4 - Can genetic tests tell if you will get cancer?

Tina’s mom just got breast cancer and she talks to her sister about whether they should do a genetic test to see if they are at risk too. You’ll be surprised that it isn’t as easy a decision as you might think…

5 - Would you want to test for Alzheimer's Disease

Tina's dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She talks to her brother about doing a genetic test to see it she is at risk for the disease. During the conversation they figure out that what she finds may directly impact her brother, whether he takes the test or not.


You can learn more about genetic testing here and if you don’t find what you are looking for, feel free to ask us a question.  Or if you just want to learn more about genetics, enjoy the rest of the Understanding Genetics website.


This project was conceived and written by Hinco J. Gierman, Ph.D., Sahil S. Kejriwal, M.S., Widya Mulyasasmita, Ph.D. and Barry Starr, Ph.D. as a final project for the Stanford at The Tech Program.

Voice overs in order of appearance: Glenn Markov, Emily Crane, Ryan Bell, Nora Yucel and Hinco Gierman.

We would like to acknowledge the support of Stanford University’s Department of Genetics and thank the following people for their advice and support: Hank T. Greely, J.D. and Zhenhua Wang, M.A.


Many (clinical) genetic tests exist that can only be ordered by a doctor. The videos on this webpage specifically deal with direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests, which use a different technology from most clinical genetic tests.

The presented material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Its content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of Stanford University or The Tech Museum.