• Alysa Salzberg

Study finds a potential shift in how we think about DNA tests

There’s a good chance that you’ve taken an ancestry DNA test, or know someone who has. The concept has even entered pop culture. One of the most quoted lines of Lizzo’s hit song “Truth Hurts” is, after all, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch.”


According to a study published in MIT Technology Review, at least 26 million people have taken home DNA tests in the quest to learn more about their families, past and present. It’s a fascination that’s more than understandable, but as countless watchdogs and articles have warned, the companies selling these kits also sell your information to third parties.


If that’s not a problem for you, how about knowing exactly how long your records are kept, and if they could be handed over to ruling bodies, insurance companies, or potential employers?


A new survey by researchers at Penn State and Cornell University reveals that these warnings have gotten through to people. The study found that people are becoming aware that their DNA results have potential value to everyone from marketers, to governments.


This knowledge could change the DNA test sales model, with participants demanding financial compensation or other benefits in exchange for sharing information about their results.


Interestingly, some participants found certain aspects of privacy and sharing more important than others. Read on to learn what issues participants considered priorities, and the implications of this shifting viewpoint on the DNA testing industry.



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