Are home ancestry kits a cheap way to discover your family’s past, or do they reveal your most personal information to third parties? I’m wondering if it’s worth taking a test.
Home ancestry tests are a bit of harmless fun, right? You spit in a tube and a few weeks later get to see the kaleidoscope of countries that make you who you are. Nothing to it.
The idea of taking an ancestry test appeals to me. Born in France and raised in Australia, I’d love to get a map of the world that neatly pinpoints all the different regions I could claim as my ancestral roots.
On top of looking at your ancestry, some DNA tests also screen for health conditions and claim they can tell you whether you’re at risk of developing certain conditions.
Is it worth getting a DNA test?
When we looked into DNA tests back in 2008, we weren’t convinced. In fact, we thought they were a bit of a risk to privacy.
Since then, 23andMe and GSK have agreed to share de-identified data to develop medicines. The NHS has also said it will offer paid-for DNA tests if patients agree to share their data.
Would you opt in to sharing your data for those purposes?
DNA test privacy concerns
While sci-fi Gattaca-style discrimination might never happen (fingers-crossed), it doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that one day your DNA test results could make something like health insurance harder, or more expensive, to obtain.
Would you be comfortable with data being used in that way in the future? I see the appeal but, for now, I think I’ll resist taking an ancestry test.
Have you tried a home ancestry test? If not, would you be willing to? What do you think of the privacy implications?