Did You Get a DNA Kit this Holiday?

It’s no surprise that so many caved in and purchased DNA kits for loved ones. The commercials for 23andMe would have you believe uncovering your ancestry is as easy as swabbing the inside of your mouth and sending it in to the specialists. While this is, for the most part, true, it is also important to keep in mind the potential risks of sending such personal information away. Genetic information is marketing gold — especially to a pharmaceutical company. Therefore, it may not come as such as a shock that over the summer 23andMe was granted a $300 million investment from the big pharma, specifically GlaxoSmithKline. Though the DNA kit offers users the opportunity to opt out of passing their profile information around, the attempt to use private information for marketing purposes is not news in the digital era. Not to mention a few of the horror stories that popped up after last year’s Christmas shoppers got the kit for their family. One man discovered his teenage daughter wasn’t his, one woman discovered she wasn’t raised by her biological father, these occurances happen more often than you might be led to think. As a matter of fact, it is reported that 23andMe trains its customer service representatives to handle the potential trauma that a DNA test could cause.