The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Consumer Information article addressing the risks surrounding the commercially available DNA test kits. Many of us have either heard or seen commercials from companies offering to test one’s DNA for ancestry determination. The process is very simple – once you buy the test kit, simply swab the inside of your cheek and send the sample to the testing facility. It’s painless, simple and not very expensive. But, you have to ask yourself, “What information about me is actually on the swab that I just let go?”
What is DNA?
The acronym stands for deoxyribonucleic acid and is the genetic code that determines all the characteristics of a living thing – meaning, your very essence! Everything from sex, race, eye and hair color, geographical origins and potential medical predispositions is coded into your DNA. Is that something you want being stored on some computer network or “cloud” with the risk of the information being hacked or breached? You may also need to consider and investigate what the provider of the DNA Test Kits results can do with the “genetic you.” Imagine the value your genetic code would be for health insurance providers if they were able to determine what – if any – medical condition you may have or could have?
Although it may be of interest for someone to have their DNA tested for ancestry; the question should be asked, “Is the interest worth the risk if my genetic code is shared or stolen?”
For further information published by the FTC, please visit the Federal Trade Commission.