23 reasons not to reveal your DNA

DNA
Karyotype. Photo by Can H. (CC BY-NC 2.0).

DNA testing is a booming global business enabled by the internet. Millions of people have sent samples of their saliva to commercial labs in hopes of learning something new about their personal health or heritage, primarily in the United States and Europe. In some places, commercial tests are banned. In France, you could face a fine of around $4,000 USD for taking one.

Industry giants Ancestry.com, 23andMe, MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA market their services online, share test results on websites, and even offer tutorials on how to search for relatives in phone directories, or share results in social media. They often also claim rights to your genetic data and sell access to their databases to big pharmaceutical and medtech companies.

In terms of internet health, it’s part of a worrying trend of corporations to acquire personal data about people and act in their own best interests, not yours. OK, so test results can also lead to important discoveries about your personal health, and can also be shared for non-profit biomedical research in the public interest. But before you give in to your curiosity, here are 23 reasons not to reveal your DNA – one for each pair of the chromosomes in a human cell.

  1. The results may not be accurate. Some outputs on personal health and nutrition have been discredited by scientists. One company, Orig3n, misidentified a Labrador Retriever dog’s DNA sample as being human in 2018. As Arwa Mahdawi wrote after taking the test, “Nothing I learned was worth the price-tag and privacy risks involved.”
  2. Heritage tests are less precise if you don’t have European roots. DNA is analyzed in comparison to samples already on file. Because more people of European descent have taken tests so far, assessments of where your ancestors lived are usually less detailed outside of Europe.
  3. Your DNA says nothing about your culture. Genetic code can only tell you so much. As Sarah Zhang wrote in 2016, “DNA is not your culture and it certainly isn’t guaranteed to tell you anything about the places, history and cultures that shaped you.”
  4. Racists are weaponizing the results. White nationalists have flocked to commercial DNA companies to vie for the highest race-purity points on extremist websites.
  5. DNA tests can’t be anonymous. You could jump through hoops to attempt to mask your name and location, but your DNA is an unique marker of your identity that could be mishandled no matter what.
  6. You will jeopardize the anonymity of family members. By putting your own DNA in the hands of companies your (known or unknown) relatives could be identifiable to others, possibly against their wishes.
  7. You could become emotionally scarred. You may discover things you weren’t prepared to find out. A fertility watchdog in the United Kingdom called for DNA testing companies to warn consumers of the risks of uncovering traumatic family secrets or disease risks.
  8. Anonymous sperm and egg donors could become a thing of the past. The likelihood that anonymous donations will remain anonymous decreases with every test taken, which could dissuade donors and negatively affect some families.
  9. Millions are spent on targeted ads to lure you. DNA companies hand out free kits at sporting events, and create DNA specific music playlists on Spotify. In 2016 alone, Ancestry.com spent $109 million on ads. An ad by AncestryDNA capitalized on “Brexit” and British identity politics, with the slogan, “The average British person’s data is 60% European. We may be leaving Europe, but Europe will never leave us.”
  10. A pair of socks is a better gift. You may be tempted by special offers around holidays such as this one, offering 30% off genetic tests for Father’s Day: “What do you share with Dad? This Father’s Day, celebrate your DNA connection with Dad”. Perhaps the man who has everything would prefer not to become your science experiment.
  11. You will become the product. Your genetic code is valuable. Once you opt in to sharing, you have no idea what company gets access to it, nor for what purpose.
  12. Big pharma wants your DNA. 23andMe revealed a $300 million USD deal with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2018 that gives them access to aggregate customer data. Calico Life Sciences, a medtech company owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is the primary research partner of Ancestry.com.
  13. Companies can change their privacy policies. You might be asked to give your consent again, but policies of companies can still change in ways you may not like.
  14. A company (and your DNA) can change hands. Companies are bought, sold, go out of business or change their business models. And then what happens with your genetic info?
  15. Destructing your DNA can be difficult. An investigation into how to delete your DNA from Ancestry.com found that it is possible to erase your record and allegedly even destroy your physical sample. But they don’t make it easy.
  16. You have no idea how long they will keep your sample. Some companies say they keep samples for 1-10 years. Regulations governing DNA databases differ from country to country. Do you know the rules where you live?
  17. Police can access your DNA. There’s crime solving potential, but also human rights risks. Authorities can seek court approval to access consumer DNA databases, but investigators have also been known to create fake profiles using a suspect’s DNA.
  18. Your results could become part of a global database. Law enforcement in several countries have unrestricted access to genetic profiles. Some scientists argue that creating a “universal genetic forensic database” would be the only way to make unwanted intrusion less likely through regulation.
  19. Your data could be hacked, leaked or breached. Third party sharing is common practice among companies. The more people have access to your DNA, the more vulnerable it is to being hacked. As companies amass more data, they will become increasingly attractive to criminals and vulnerable to cyber theft.
  20. Genes can be hacked. Scientists have discovered how to store data and even animated GIFs in DNA, and even believe malware could be placed in DNA to compromise the security of computers holding databases. Still trust them?
  21. You are signing away rights. When you use services like AncestryDNA the default agreement is to let them transfer your genetic information to others, royalty-free, for product development, personalized product offers, research and more.
  22. Companies profit from your DNA. Testing isn’t the only way companies make money. They profit from data sharing agreements with research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry. If your DNA helps develop a cure for a disease, you’ll never know. And you certainly won’t earn royalties from any related drug sales.
  23. You may be discriminated against in the future. In the United States, health insurers and workplaces are not allowed to discriminate based on DNA. But the law does not apply to life insurance or disability insurance. Who knows in your case, where you live? Some day you could be compelled to share genetic information with your own insurer.

If you still decide to submit your DNA for testing, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers sound advice to consumers: compare privacy policies before you pick a company, choose your account options carefully, recognize the risks, and report any concerns to authorities. To counteract the dominance of commercial companies, you can also contribute your data to non-profit research repositories like All of Us or DNA.Land that are open to public scrutiny.

If you regret a choice you made in the past, you could have your DNA data deleted and request that your sample be destroyed. Consumer DNA testing is an example of why strong data protection laws are so important. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) offers some protections, but elsewhere you have few rights when you hand over sensitive data.

Do you feel the benefits of DNA testing outweigh the risks?

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  2. Alberto

    Some platforms are anonymous (you upload your file without providing any personal data. i.e. ADNTRO, Nebula,...)

    Then it would be safe? isn't it?

  3. Natalie

    I've uploaded my genotyping (23 and me) data to open snp https://opensnp.org/. So I have made it available online to anyone on purpose.

    I'm well-informed and fine with people having it for any reason. It would be much easier to cause me harm in a thousand other ways than through this poor-quality copy of some of my SNPs. I've probably shared more interesting and usable data just by commenting here.

    I do think that people should be informed when they make the decision to do these tests and/or make their data available, but I do think that much of this article is not very accurate. No one is going to be able to synthesise so much as one gene from my 23andme data, much less hack it with some malware!

    Genuine concerns are:
    1. You might find out something you don't want to know (e.g. you have 10 half siblings, or you're at increased risk for alzheimers)
    2. The results might be rubbish
    3. You might be discriminated against in the future.

    Well, (1) is easy to way up before you take the test, but should be done. For me it was a no-brainer, I like to know the truth even if it's not nice - my preference. Then (2), again, easy to weigh up, research and come to your own conclusions on quality based on the chip used, etc. So (3) - or 23 on your list, is the only persistent problem. And what we need to do about that is to prevent DNA being weaponised, rather than to be afraid of sharing it.

    To me, this article reads like "don't tell anyone that you're gay, you might be discriminated against in the future"... I mean, yeah, that's true, but that's not a very good reason not to share it. You would have to be seriously paranoid. What we really need to focus on is making sure that it continues to be illegal for people to discriminate based on DNA (because as you mention, it *is* already illegal).

  4. G Singh

    DNA testing is a very controversial topic and currently not seen very favorable by many. Though, it does have its own advantages and disadvantages. It has released people from prison for wrongly incarcerated and found real parents. Future though is unsure how this technology can be used to manipulate the society.
    G Singh
    gsmedic.com

  5. Anonymous

    I would never share my DNA in any database. You never know what can they do with your sample and data and you definitely can't know what happen in the future. Law enforcement might be able to get access to those databases. Just imagine that for any reason, under any circumstances you let's say commit a crime in the future. Intentionally or unintentionally and your DNA would be the only mean for law enforcement to identify and catch you. If your DNA is in any database it might be what will bring you down. Therefore I would never share my DNA with any company offering no matter what. Protect yourself even from something that might not even happen in the future.

  6. Anonymous

    This has got to be the most paranoid article I've ever read.
    Gave me a good laugh.

  7. Anonymous

    Sister in law decided to do a test for fun two years ago. So far two previously unknown grown biological daughters (of my husband's) have come forward--Hi dad! Be forewarned. What you decide to do "for fun" can have serious consequences for other family members who did not test. Tell your sons early and often about the consequences for irresponsible, youthful behavior, sometimes decades later for the innocent family you meant to create.

  8. Anonymous

    Great reasons! However, I would still consider doing a DNA analysis for myself. Because if they tell me I have a greater chance to get lung cancer, I might would choose to stop smoking.

  9. Jennifer P

    Not for nothing, but if somebody really wanted my DNA to do anything "bad" with, or any of our DNA for that matter, all they would have to do is go through our trash. Hair, Kleenex, saliva... And we would never even know. So forget about all this "relinquishing rights" nonsense. You do that every time you put your trash to the curb.

  10. BONNIE

    MY DOCTOR TOLD ME SHE NEEDED TO RUN A CBC BUT INSTEAD RAN A DNA AND DID NOT TELL ME UNTIL I CAME BACK FOR THE RESULTS OF THE "CBC", WHERE SHE ANNOUNCED SHE RAN A DNA INSTEAD. THIS PISSED ME OFF ROYALLY. DO I HAVE ANY LEGAL RECOURSE? IT HAS BEEN VERY TRAUMATIC FOR ME. I CAN'T LET IT GO.

  11. Anonymous

    Well, if I have family secrets like I'm adopted and my dad is Pablo Escobar,I want to know... and maybe start a TV series.

  12. Anonymous

    My Sister sent me a 23 and me kit. I'm open to knowing what's going on. Sometimes you just never know what's going on in your family. And sometimes really do you want to know. If your unsure and feel it may bring up something your not ready for, then don't do it and or keep it to yourself if you can, it's your Decision to open up to others about your findings if you think it well cause hurt to others you love, then, be Strong and keep it to yourself. If its really overwhelming get Counseling to help you, so you dont have to let your loved One's know, what you found out, Be Brave and Strong. Learning about all these. Things, like what our back ground is. It showed me the percentage of each I guess you would say Nationality thats in us. Some things I knew and some I didn't. But it now being it's under my Sister email is there any way I can have access to the Results.
    Thank you.
    Sincerely
    Jennifer.

  13. Reader

    the points you made gave me even more reasons to do test my DNA.
    Half of them aren't even real cons and some even contradicting your previous statements in some sense.

  14. Anonymous

    "Anonymous sperm and egg donors could become a thing of the past. "

    Well that is EXACTLY WHAT IT SHOULD BE ! Children born from donor gametes should be informed and educated on their roots, their story, their genes. They have the right to know.

  15. Sharing is wonderful

    I did it also with Ancestry.com, i chose not to share my data with 3rd parties when i first signed the contract and unfortunately i have requested to cancel my account and destroy my sample, to be honest i did it as i thought that this DNA test of mine, can become a big threat to my financial world, to be honest i very much doubt about this! i don`t think that having a DNA test can become a threat to any ones financial wealth, and i feel like i made a mistake by requesting to delete my account, sorry guys, i do have full respect to you and your efforts and what you are doing is very unique, and i love you all (Ancestry.com and companies who has the same level of mindset), listen all, we are human beings and we do communicate and share our knowledge so we advance further, then we carry this knowledge to the next generations, this makes the difference between us and animals, because we always go further with learning and sharing, i believe sharing DNA helps, i will take the test again.

  16. Adopted, indigenous

    Not only do the medical knowledge benefits outweigh all the risks listed here, providing data on minority DNA can only help. A dystopia could occur overnight. We all know that, and hopefully we are keeping that to heart at all times.

    But when and at what cost do us minorities slink around to avoid the worst of it? You have to have some hope in this world. Even if my data gets sold, perhaps someone has more understanding of the genetics of my people (dystopia or no).

    I've been misdiagnosed more times than I can count. I've been reported as underweight even though I'm overweight by sight. I don't match up to the common white standard, and that's more of an issue to me than someone "owning" my data. Good. Take it. At least somebody wants it, and will take it into account.

    I have no personal medical history. If some bigwigs want to use my DNA for nefarious purposes, that's their business, while I focus on my health. I guess I can't feel scared when everything is a struggle anyway. I need every advantage I can get. Until they are rounding us up in cages via 23 & me data, I'm still ahead...

  17. Kirk Aherne

    I don’t mind my DNA being used for purposes for example a cure an illness or DNA imprint when I die that I lived in this time. I would not like my DNA 🧬 hacked or used to incriminate me as I am a good person and live my life to the law of where I live in the 🇬🇧 Uk.

  18. Vanessa

    Reason 4 not to reveal your DNA isn't a reason at all. "Racists are weaponizing the results. White nationalists have flocked to commercial DNA companies to vie for the highest race-purity points on extremist websites."

    People having different DNA might be the 'basis' for a white nationalist's bigotry, but that doesn't mean it's bad to study DNA or want to find out more about your DNA. One of the other points was bad, too "Your DNA says nothing about your culture" it's conceivable that the majority of people who take DNA tests don't want to do so in order to adopt the culture of their ancestor's countries, they just want to find out where their ancestors are from.

    Trying to reach a specific number of reasons to not do X will result in you reaching in order to reach that number of things.

  19. Anonymous

    My ftDNA tree was suddenly hacked just after I downloaded a gedcom and everything was deleted. A little tree of three persons with three phony names was substituted. Yuk.

  20. Nikita

    I am a willing participant in submitting my DNA to multiple companies for the purposes of being matched with DNA relatives, in search of identifying my father. I personally do not care if my doing these test are “outing” people’s dark secrets. They aren’t their secrets to keep once a child comes into the picture. Every person involved, The Mother, The Father, and The Child all have ownership of that truth. Regardless of the delicate situation. I am a mother and I would not ever lie to my children or withhold their truth. Even if it’s ugly, the truth is the truth and trying to bury secrets is childish. Grow up people, face life, and move on. Take accountability for yourselves. So what you got wild and made a mistake, or you were hurt and the guy wasn’t worth a thing or is on death row! It is what it is and you are toxic to that child if you refuse to tell them their truth even if they were adopted or surrogates or egg donor babies or sperm donor babies, People Deserve To Know Their Story and I personally hope the laws in America catch up to these lame head in the sand parents out here. And On a different note.
    I did also opt in on contributing my DNA for research as well and I don’t need to be paid if they are using my DNA to create medicine that is curing all kinds of diseases. The FDA has already approved 23&me for 11 different illnesses and they even created a drug that is CURING CANCER, Explain to me why a person would possibly need to acquire royalties for that?? The greedy people asking for handouts just for spitting in a cup, should Have to pay double to use the medicines since they can’t help anyone without being paid for it!

  21. Anonymous

    how can i be confirmed when no second test is taken that the paternity test results are true

  22. Wheberson

    1 reason to reveal your DNA: "Only the truth shall set you free."

  23. Anonymous

    So many comments about "if they want it they can get it from a cup or a strand of hair...". That is really crazy.
    Why would anyone have to run around grabbing cups and hair when they already have huge databases full of this information? You literally paid a company so they can make money off of you.

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  25. Anonymous

    Your number 20 is absolutely silly. As long as they don't try to interpret DNA as binary code and then let it be executed by a processor, no virus in the world could infect a computer through DNA. Yes, you can save data in DNA, of course. But in that case you have to also interpret that DNA in the right way, to get the desired data. It's nonsense if the data is misunderstood.

  26. Anonymous

    The Centre for Health and Coping Studies at the University of British Columbia is seeking individuals to participate in a study on the impact of genetic testing.

    https://delongis.psych.ubc.ca/ubc-genetic-connections-study/

    Please visit our website if you are interested in learning more about the study!

  27. Anonymous

    I wouldn't take a DNA test personally. Too many people can access the information and use it for a variety of reasons ... one - to not insure you because you have xyz in your DNA that could make you ineligible for benefits. There are so many reasons not to do it for me. I will never take a chip or get these flu, shingles,etc. that are offered so freely where there is a pharmacy. They do not list the ingredients in them for you to read for a reason.

  28. Gretchen

    I am privacy oriented but I don’t see much cause for concern here. The advantages are worth the “risks”. The biggest risk would be if you’re searching for a missing relative who doesn’t want to be found and then breaks your heart. I don’t know how pharmaceutical use could harm anyone. The Golden State Killer was recently identified through online dna research. He had been active since the 70s!

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  30. A.K

    There just isn't enough out there to persuade me NOT to take a DNA test. I just see this as another means of gathering information to discover more details and statistics about a person or group of people. Social media does the exact same thing, so why are people freaking out? If you try to avoid all this, then you should probably go live in a cave and never come out. This is the future that we are all headed towards. I think this new movement is profound, especially regarding the future of Health Care and Technology. There is good and bad to every situation, so on the bright side this could be the solution to many health problems. My only curiosity is how exactly are we using our own DNA to make it so valuable? Nothing is actually private. If someone wanted to get your DNA, then it can be from that cup of coffee you left behind or a strand of your hair. Specialists in your walk-in-clinic take your blood all the time to give you results. You could have already been a victim to testing without even knowing it, because of something you left behind. We leave a mark everywhere! Aside from uncovering a criminal's tracks, I honestly need more persuasion on how this could actually ruin a person's life. Cool points but the hairs on my back haven't stood up yet!

  31. yola

    who wrote this article? are you a criminal that have something to hide?

  32. Phil McKraken

    I made the mistake of submitting my DNA for testing. Now I'm regretting it, not because of what I've learned but that I've let the cat out of the bag and I may never get it back in. I'm in the process of trying to delete all my data from that company that starts with the number and they do not make it easy. Unless you have a damn good medical reason to have your DNA tested or you are an adopted kid with no other avenue to find your biological parents, I suggest refraining from using these services: you will find it difficult if not impossible to remove your info and god forbid there be a data breach. Ancestry.com has already had a major one in 2015: https://www.komando.com/happening-now/435921/ancestry-com-suffers-big-data-leak-300000-user-credentials-exposed and myheritage was breached in 2017: https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/5/17430146/dna-myheritage-ancestry-accounts-compromised-hack-breach

  33. Clifford Mwarania

    It's enough to be bullied in public but consider me paranoid when machines learn a thing or two about pushing your buttons from DNA.

  34. Anon

    These people are ridiculous. Sharing DNA, while it is identifiable and can give you insight about a person, is nowhere near as dangerous as they are making it out to be. If someone did gain access to your DNA, the best they could do is find out about any diseases or genetic predispositions you might have. Unless they are an insurance company, what can they do with that?

    By contrast, if someone gets your social, they can legitimately steal from you. Last time I checked, I didn't create any accounts with my DNA.

  35. Brian

    There are so many inherent dangers in your DNA results falling in to the hands of big corporations is one of the scariest things in our digital world, at the moment!

  36. Anonymous

    I believe that my DNA is mine and no-one else's. It should only be used in a case of emergency and only with my consent.

  37. Anonymous

    Just to put a fact straight that was posted here by one comentor. Ancestry is a private company not owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called Mormons). They have their own, free to use, family history website -FamilySearch.org

  38. Calvin

    Considering DNA is your ultimate identification number, giving it away to unknown entity is not wise choice. You can change your identity like name, credit card number, social security number, and even face transplant. But you can NEVER chance your DNA sequence on the event of identity theft.

  39. Anonymous

    Considering Ancestry.com is ran by the Mormon Church, no, I would never trust them with anything especially my DNA.

  40. Rebecca

    As a person with a long history of being involved in medical studies because of rare health issues, I see the value in having a large database of genes and health histories to develop treatments and find connections to health risks previously unknown. Our medical knowledge now is based on a very limited, very exclusive, set of people who are already ill and willing to be studied. The knowledge expansion will be exponential using millions of random and healthy genesets to understand how and when disease develops. Yes, this is an industry in infancy, and there are risks to privacy. But yes, the potential for development of previously unexplored human knowledge is also amazing. We are writing an encyclopedia.

  41. Del

    I have used Ancestry for years. I know of users who believe that the co-operation between believing donors can allow them to search back in time beyond the available samples. Tosh. Available samples must be a minute non representative sample :how many people use Ancestry, how many of them give DNA, how many then communicate together accurately and vitally how many use the data for dubious reasons?

  42. Gospace

    "Anonymous sperm and egg donors could become a thing of the past. "

    Sounds like a desirable outcome to me.

  43. Anonymous

    Surely your DNA is available to anyone who can obtain a sample of any part of you e.g. hair. Are you suggesting we attempt to protect all this?

  44. Anonymous

    There should be safe guards to protect us . That seems to be impossible . There is always someone out to make a profit . It is amazing how many people are taken in by greed . God bless us all

  45. Anonymous

    This is way, way outside of what should be your core mission. Make my browser safer and faster, don't lecture me about DNA testing.

    I hoped you'd at least raise some interesting points about DNA privacy and its importance but this sorry list oscillates between comical (Big pharma wants your DNA/You could become emotionally scarred) and irrelevant (A pair of socks is a better gift).

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  47. Justin Case

    In thisday and age when we guard our passwords and usernmes from even family members, why would one make their most personal and private information available to companies carte blanche? They ffer only the most minimal of security when protecting your information. Heck, for a song they share it amongst other companies without your knowledge. THey will make money off anything and everything you allow them to and I repeat this is your most PRIVATE and PERSONAL information n your possession.

    As for the "cultural" background information you will obtain, humbug! What makes you who and what you are today is your parents. Yes, it may be great saying you were related to Alexander of Macedon, but WHAT does it give you IRL? No one has gone out to learn Greek, let alone Classical Greek as spoken by him, because there was a great ancestor in their background. It may have provided a push, but not the reason. Interestingly, a good set of history books can tell you more about your "culture' & "background" than a DNA test.

    Hey, Europeans out there, are you aware that the Gauls, from whom French is derived ranged in Europe from the Iberian Peninsula to the RHINE River? That means from France to Germany. They called themselves Celts, yes,the appellation reserved for the Irish! Would any of that affect you today? Nope, the customs and traditions you grew up with are the strongest influence in your life. Even if, as is normal, you rebel from them in the late-teens and twenties, you will eventually come back to them in some modified but recognizable form.

    So, in effect, there is no "cool" factor to getting your DNA tesetd. You are only playing into the hands of money-hungry and less than moral agents and jeopardizing a lot of peoples' "personal" space in its broadest sense.

    Simply put: DON'T DO IT. What you loose is worth MORE than what you gain. IMHO.

  48. CP

    About a decade ago, I did a blog that stated indefinite retention provides the police with a DNA database that would eventually span the UK population as familial DNA techniques improve.

    https://amberhawk.typepad.com/amberhawk/2009/12/indefinite-retention-produces-a-dna-database-that-spans-the-population.html

  49. Anonymous

    I wish the "share" options included email especially since your readership might be social media averse.

  50. EasyEd-2

    I'm with EasyEd. Except that to me, his first paragraph is a little confusing.
    Many people are curious about their origins, etc. but that should not a reason for all to go charging off to obtain DNA tests. Another person felt the need to obtain three (3) tests, what did they expect to get? Did they feel the first/second result were incorrect and if so what gave them that idea? Otherwise, all the results should have been exactly the same - what a waste of time, effort and expense (cost).
    EasyEd's last paragraph sums up the whole event,
    quote
    " We all have opinions and I respect yours, even if you disagree with mine. I just wish everyone to make informed choices concerning various risks, information validity and personal privacy before determining what is the right course of action for themselves."
    unquote
    A couple of questions - what drew Mozilla's attention to this subject?
    Can they provide 23 reasons why anyone should have a DNA test?

  51. Anonymous

    DNA represents something essential about each individual, something that should not be commoditized. If personal liberty is to remain an essential part of the American opportunity, then we need to craft laws that restrict commercialization of DNA.

  52. Lawrece Mitchell

    To late I have already purchased and returned the test to My Heritage (not cheap for a pensioner) now to try and get rid of the lot including my family tree etc.

  53. Joseph

    I understand that there are risks involving personal information and relatively new evolving technologies. However, DNA testing has been a positive development whereby my wife was able to unite with relatives after a long resesrch. We do not pay much attention to the health profile, realizing that the science behind this factor is sadly lacking. Using DNA data to further reseach should not be so alarming as long it us used in a aggregate form.

  54. Kris

    There is so much good we could use many of these new technologies for, but until there is some semblance of true governance in the human interest, it's way to risky to participate in these projects. I do dream of a time when we are all actually working cooperatively to solve urgent problems, instead of playing the "competition" and "profit" games and lying to ourselves that it somehow is making things better for the majority of us. I optimistically believe this time is nigh : )

  55. CP

    98% of this post is sensationalized nonsense. There have been several investigations (video recorded visits) that service 23andMe delete your data if requested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3EEmVfbKNs Knowing some of your key genetic markers may allow you to bio-hack your lifestyle (via diet, or plant or pharma molecules) in order to stave off potential diseases potentially increasing your health span. Services such as Prometheus and FindMyFitness offer analysis and reports utilizing the raw SNPs genetic data from 23andMe (https://www.promethease.com/ and https://www.foundmyfitness.com/genetics ). This data could be the difference between living a healthy life with a short death process or spending the last 10 years sick and drooling as a burden to others.

  56. EasyEd

    Sister-in-law and her sister did the 23&Me test. Same parents, same grandparents and great-grandparents. One identified as of primarily Scandinavian/Caucasian ancestry, the other primarily African/Negroid ancestry -- primarily meaning over 60% markers. How can that be?

    I've been a genealogist since 1993 and generally recommend my clients not rely on such potentially faulty information. I have often traced families back 400 years (some even more), including documentation. Although not usually necessary, I recognize that in some cases an individual may deem it worth the risks. If deemed worth it, why not first spend some time in available research opportunities and attempt to build a family tree with absolute documentary validation following Genealogical Proof Standards before taking the test? It's an enjoyable -- some say addictive -- project, and it provides the opportunity to learn about history and migration patterns, both on other continents as well as North America. For example, there is a reason why such a large number of families moving west from the southeast traveled through Etowah County, Alabama: and why one group of westward-movers decided to make Big Spring, Texas their new home.

    We all have opinions and I respect yours, even if you disagree with mine. I just wish everyone to make informed choices concerning various risks, information validity and personal privacy before determining what is the right course of action for themselves.

  57. Donald

    Ancestry.com had my half brother ( same mother, different father) has my first cousin)

  58. Anonymous

    I was put into foster care as a small child (not an infant) and later adopted. I did opt for DNA testing knowing the risks and have had the great gift of meeting several of my biological cousins. I also found out more about my biological parents and why I ended up in foster care. That part of the story was not "pretty" but I am glad to know it. If it were not for the lack of family history, I wouldn't recommend doing it. If you have a family history, embrace it and forget the DNA testing. If you don't and you're willing to take the risks, I feel it is totally worth it.

  59. Anonymous

    Insurance discrimination risks at #23 vs. "purity" White racists at #4? Are these items listed in order of risks? SMH!

  60. Anonymous

    I’m totally astonished how brainwashed we are these days . There is almost no entity out there that is marketing you, that gives a damn about you except for making money off of you. I would never give my dna willingly, I don’t fill out my health plans “ wellness questionnaire “ and I know when the product is actually ME . There’s no doubt the horror stories will be coming in the future from all of this,when you are denied access to something because of your “ possibly accurate “ dna results. Sheep .

  61. L H

    I have taken several dna tests to use with family history research and it has been a fascinating and successful endeavor. This article generalizes, uses scare tactics and contains some inaccuracies. If someone wants your dna there are multiple ways to get it whether you have tested or not. Heritage dna science is relatively new and the more people who test the more accurate it becomes. It has brought joy to many who are seeking their biological roots. As with any new tech development there are social adjustments. As a race we are designed to adapt to changes.

    DNA fan

  62. John Algeo

    This probably doesn't happen often, but in my case, the company that I submitted a sample to couldn't find my results. So I haven't been enlightened about my genetic background, but I have lost the money that I was charged for the testing.

  63. Anonymous

    "Racists are weaponizing the results."
    Huh? Should we all stop using the internet because racists also use the internet? What a silly reason.

  64. Anonymous

    No. 23 should be No. 1, that is the scariest risk.

  65. Anonymous

    I can't see the point in paying out good money to discover something which might be best left undiscovered.
    Also I'm not too sure about your grammar, shouldn't 'view less comments' really read 'view fewer comments'?

  66. GFAU

    The information about France is inaccurate. It is perfectly legal in France to take an ancestry DNA test. What is forbidden is to take a health markers DNA test. I found the results of the test very interesting to better understand our roots.

  67. Morticai

    What about specific encoded by your DNA bio weapons made by terrorists what makes us different could make you a target food for thought.

  68. Jamshed

    Curiosity killed the cat! Why submit yourself to such tests unless it is advised for your well being, by a reputed and qualified medical practitioner.

  69. Anonymous

    I would not be too worried about the world seeing my D A I have taken the test

  70. Horation Hornblower

    What folly to hand over your most intimate personal information to corporations who will monetize it? Greater folly to pay them to do it!

  71. Mike

    Many thanks to Mozilla for highlighting the risks of unnecessary DNA testing.

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