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In an undercover federal sting made public Thursday, two Bay Area genetic testing companies were found to offer information that is "misleading and of little or no practical use" to consumers who purchase their tests to gain insight into their health risks.

Although Navigenics of Foster City, and 23andMe of Mountain View defended their businesses, they and two other companies were blasted by investigators from the U.S. Government Accountability Office for drawing unsupportable conclusions from the gene samples they analyzed and making health predictions that didn't always jibe with their customers' actual medical conditions.

When one investigator posing as a consumer asked whether her test data implied she was in danger of getting breast cancer, a Navigenics representative replied, "you'd be in the high risk of pretty much getting it," according to a GAO report made public at a congressional hearing Thursday.

The GAO said experts it consulted called the Navigenics' remark "horrifying" because "it erroneously implies that the tests can diagnose breast cancer and could needlessly alarm consumers."

The gene tests, which can cost consumers thousands of dollars in...