Your DNA is More Accessible Than You Might Think

DNA testing has become increasingly widespread. The possibility of discovering a relation to a celebrity or uncovering an unknown heritage motivates some to purchase DNA testing kits through 23andMe or Ancestry DNA. However, few people realize that these simple tests bring about privacy concerns, whether the tests are done at home or at medical institutions. The results from DNA testing have a much wider use than just tracing your roots or confirming your identity. Anonymity is not secure, and family secrets can be unraveled. These genetic results can be used by law enforcement to track down criminals and/or by drugmakers to facilitate their latest discovery. And drugmakers are expending hundreds of millions of dollars to access patient DNA results to unlock disease insights and discover new drugs. Private deals between hospitals and drugmakers are a huge privacy concern. Agreements exist that bar such sharing of private data, but, when they enter into exclusive corporate agreements, hospitals do not always disclose when the data will be used. An issue that remains at the heart of healthcare is privacy – now that concern broadens to the ethics of genetic research.

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Blog post authored by Navpreet Natt


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