Risks of DNA testing

Should you take double thoughts when taking a DNA test? Probably to some people it may be frightening, some people may get scared that they could discover things that will make them worry(risk of having various diseases and wouldn’t know how to cope with the information) and probably they would make different health decisions that could turn out wrong.

Risks of DNA testing

The most important risk is that of privacy. Nothing is more personal than the genetic information. Sending your personal genome kit to the testing companies, are you sure they’re only going to use it for providing health assessments. It’s not like all the companies wouldn’t protect your information.

According to the director of consumer privacy the key thing about your genetic data is that it is all yours it makes you who you are, identifies you and if you’re willing to entrust a company then you need to know the consequences. Hacking sound oddly familiar, well obviously this is the risk that the social app doesn’t faces alone.

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In 2013 a young biologist name Yaniv Erlich shocked everyone by his research about unmasking the identities of people listed in anonymously data base with only using an internet connection.

There was also a recent hack taken place in which 92 million accounts which was from the genealogy and the DNA testing service My Heritage were found on a private server even though no information was breached on DNA data but the matter is nonetheless concerned.

Now the question arise that who may profit on your DNA which is obviously not you. Many companies will share data to the other research companies even though they make it clear that they will not share DNA with the third party unless you give them the consent.

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There is for sure a private policy for companies like 23 and Me as well as ancestry in which they have pledged to not give any information to the third party because they will be stripping away your name and identifying details but everything is possible in today’s modern technology world. If we talk about the law then there aren’t many law broad enough that covers genetic privacy.  

There is currently a law covering genetic privacy which is “The Genetic information non-discrimination act” can also be called GINA. Another important risk is that if you provide your DNA to testing companies you are also providing the genetic information of your relatives even if they are your distant cousins. If your distant cousins you don’t know gives there DNA, they are also providing your DNA information.

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The law enforcement knows that these companies have your DNA and they may want it and it’s illegal for the companies to provide your data, but they are doing this. Last but not least the companies’ privacy statement may also change.

Hijacking is an acute incident, others may include that a company can change it may be bought sold or become out of business and their privacy statements change. But there’s good news they have an incentive for the consumer’s side.

Author: minahil abbasi

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