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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Using the case of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, this chapter examines how experts contested the emergence of this new market for bodily knowledge in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Drawing on theoretical innovations in economic sociology and medical sociology, the author analyzes how scientists, clinicians, and genetic counselors made the argument that genetic information should be provided within the context of a clinical relationship and not a commercial relationship. A systematic examination of editorials in scientific and medical journals, statements by medical professional organizations, and interviews with genetic counselors reveals that experts draw a bright line between medical genetic testing and commercial genetic testing by emphasizing the complexity of the information and the different motivations of clinical versus corporate purveyors. The conclusion offers suggestions for how to study markets for bodily knowledge, and it discusses how experts’ claims may affect people’s ability to access and control their own bodily information.

Keywords: odily knowledge, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, medicine, commercialization, relational work

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