Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
Steelersfan
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Steelersfan » Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:17 pm

mnaspbh wrote: As others have observed, it's very likely you'll get different results if you get tested by different companies. When the tests disagree, what do you do with the results?
I've seen the results of quite a few ancestry tests. The results WILL differ, sometimes substantially so.

AF_Engineer
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:05 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by AF_Engineer » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:04 pm

I think the potential benefits of DNA testing (particularly for personal medical purposes, which I've done) outweighs the risks, which I think are a bit overblown. I personally think the risk is fairly low of anyone making off with your DNA data for nefarious purposes. Most BH's guffaw at folks who buy physical gold to prepare for world disaster...I think the hyperbole of DNA data leaks is also a bit exaggerated.

This will probably freak out those suspicious of the gov't, but I'd like to see a mandatory DNA database that includes the data for every American, for the primary purpose of preventing/solving crimes. With the vastly improved DNA science, pinning crimes on perps using DNA evidence would drastically reduce crime rates. Of course it's the same challenge as electronic voting, you'd have to make that DNA database inpentenatrable to cyber crime, I don't think we're there yet.

My advice - if you're to get some benefit or satisfaction from the DNA test, I'd say go for it and rest easy. My $0.02.

Jnick55
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:55 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Jnick55 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:25 pm

It seems that DNA test results might not be kept confidential by DNA testing companies:

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/alaska ... ves-60156/

User avatar
watchnerd
Posts: 1024
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Redmond, WA, USA

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by watchnerd » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:25 pm

Bob.Beeman wrote: Am I being paranoid?
Okay, you caught us...we're collecting DNA samples from curious Americans and making a secret clone army in the jungles of South America.
Tweaked 3-Fund: 35% US Equities | 35% Total International | 30% Intermediate Treasuries

j0nnyg1984
Posts: 393
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:55 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:08 pm

There is no way I would ever submit to any of these tests. Call me paranoid, I don't care, but I don't want that information out there.

User avatar
celia
Posts: 7852
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by celia » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:26 pm

Not only can you set up a fake profile, but you can submit DNA for others using fake names. So which of the dozen elders that I had tested are really me (if any)?

...or could all of them be me (submitted at various times)?

What I am doing for part of my genealogy projects is downloading the data for each person after the results come in, then delete it from Ancestry. Then after the person dies, I wait a few years then upload the results to 23andme.

Since many genealogists are elderly, this will be a way to connect to younger generations who are into things like this. Maybe my grandkids will one day be interested in my research.

neveragain
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by neveragain » Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:56 pm

You can get your DNA tested just for ancestry findings and they won't test it for health. I didn't pay extra for the health portion because I'm sure anyone could get their hands on those results.

The ancestry stuff, I don't care if anyone knows about that.

InMyDreams
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:35 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by InMyDreams » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:29 am

neveragain wrote:You can get your DNA tested just for ancestry findings and they won't test it for health. I didn't pay extra for the health portion because I'm sure anyone could get their hands on those results.
Sounds like you went to 23andme, but regardless of which testing company - each company uses a single testing chip, and all samples for that company are run using that chip. The raw data file generated from the test will contain the same SNP tests whether the health report feature was paid for or not (with individual results varying for each SNP test, of course).

You may not have paid for them to analyze those results to generate "health reports," but you can pay them to analyze them at any time -or take your raw data to a third party and have them do it. I think I've heard it's as low as US$5, but not sure.

AncestryDNA allows you to opt out of their health data research; I just saw that familytreeDNA is offering to analyze your Family Finder results for health reports for US$49.

I'd be interested to know if anyone who has applied for insurance that has been asked if they were tested - were you asked for the results? for the raw data or for the reports?

Last - you can simply delete your tests from each of the test sites - they will do that, and you will no longer be able to get them. I suppose they have back ups of their data. Could an insurance company compel them to restore from back up? Seems unlikely. Better do delete before you apply, tho ;)

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18184
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:36 pm

DNA testing has no benefits and has many irreversible potential issues.

The ancestry information is too imprecise to be useful. Even if you find some new blood among your ancestors, it does not tell you where the owners of that blood actually lived or their actual culture and habits. A Swedish vagabond may have caught your Polish great-great-greatmother unawares in the bushes; but you will be making up stories of victorious viking raids.

The genetic health information is pretty useless as well, apart from a minuscule number of cases such as breast cancer of Ashkenazim Jewish women. The metabolic theories of cancer and of other chronic diseases have far more substance and promise, but nobody wants to hear about cutting down carbs and eating broccoli.

In contrast, the consequences of sending your DNA into the wild can be devastating. Apart from the ability to get health insurance, there could be other future consequences, e.g., inability to establish your identity against identity theft.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by azurekep » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:53 pm

InMyDreams wrote:
Last - you can simply delete your tests from each of the test sites - they will do that, and you will no longer be able to get them. I suppose they have back ups of their data. Could an insurance company compel them to restore from back up? Seems unlikely. Better do delete before you apply, tho ;)
If a DNA database is like any other database, when you, the individual, delete the results, the results will still reside on the server. A cynical mind will say that the info will eventually be sold.

Also, just think back over recent years. When you apply for any kind of utility or service, you'll likely find you are asked increasing amounts of personal information. It used to be just name and address. Now it's SSN, DOB, credit card number, landline number, mobile number and so on. People readily offer up this information and companies increasingly feel empowered to ask for it.

Plus, companies record telephone conversations. (And if you refuse to be recorded, you'll likely get slower service. ;) ) If you've had DNA testing done and tell an insurance company that you haven't, that could potentially be information that comes up in a lawsuit.

Just looking at worst case...

User avatar
senior83
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:43 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by senior83 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:35 pm

As a Counterpoint to what a lot of people are saying here, I am a very privacy-conscious individual, and I did get the 23andMe test. This was quite a while ago before the FDA Crackdown that caused 23andMe to water down their results. At that time I was given access to a lot of digested health reports rather than having to dig through the raw data which I have done.

While it is obviously not something that would work for a lot of people, I have reviewed journal articles based on some gene variants that I have related to a medical condition. While we were very aware that this was only about two steps better than reading tea leaves, it did help my doctor and I choose a medication strategy for this condition.

I'm less concerned with the disclosure of my genetic data, even given the realities of the United States Healthcare Market, than I am with understanding myself and potentially getting pointers to improved starting places for medical treatment. I'm also quite happy to contribute to research. There are a lot of different ways to look at the problem.

neveragain
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by neveragain » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:52 pm

VictoriaF wrote:DNA testing has no benefits and has many irreversible potential issues.

The ancestry information is too imprecise to be useful. Even if you find some new blood among your ancestors, it does not tell you where the owners of that blood actually lived or their actual culture and habits. A Swedish vagabond may have caught your Polish great-great-greatmother unawares in the bushes; but you will be making up stories of victorious viking raids.
I am 67% Scandinavian according to my DNA test, so that tells me the bulk of my ancestors lived in Scandinavian countries, although it can't give precise countries, of course. It also tells me I can be fairly sure I'm descended from many Scandinavian people, probably more than one in my ancestry.

For some people, that's all they want to know.

mouses
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by mouses » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:15 pm

CWhea1775 wrote:On the other hand... My wife found out that she is 1/4 European Jewish, something that was totally lost in the family history. Her Dad's family had converted their history into being from "Germany" at some point in time.

And a branch of my family were early converts to Mormonism, and my genetic testing revealed these cousins in Utah and we found the link in our family trees.

To the original question, I do have some concerns about privacy, but at our age the insurance type concerns are largely irrelevant. If you are interested in genealogy the Ancestry tests, presentation, and link to family trees are pretty cool.
At my age the OP's concerns don't matter either. I thought this was fun. What surprised me was that ours matched what we know of family history. I was assuming there would be some hitherto unknown wild card in there.

mouses
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by mouses » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:19 pm

VictoriaF wrote: there could be other future consequences, e.g., inability to establish your identity against identity theft.

Victoria
What? How would that work?

Atgard
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:02 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Atgard » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:23 pm

While it is wise to consider potential ramifications -- DNA testing, screening, customized medical treatments, and fascinating genetic reproductive issues are all coming in the near future -- I think the benefits here outweigh the risks.

While the ancestry stuff may be just for fun, using the raw data to get health reports can potentially be very useful for yourself or your children, possibly helping you diagnose a disease (or at least be on the lookout for symptoms), or prevent one (with proper nutrition or early treatment).

As someone said, you can just buy the "ancestry" kit (which was recently on sale for $49), then download the raw data and upload it to promethease.com to run health reports for $5. If you are paranoid, you can request your sample be destroyed, your data erased, and just keep your own copy yourself (may not be foolproof, but nothing is -- as others point out, any waiter can sample your DNA from your water glass at a restaurant).

It is likely that genetic testing will become commonplace for medical purposes, once we figure out that people with XYZ gene sequence react better to Drug A, while others react better to Drug B. So it is likely most of our genomes will be sequenced in the near future anyway. There will be HIPAA-type protections, and I believe they will institute safeguards against insurance companies using it against you -- too many people would strongly oppose such uses.

Hopefully everyone has seen Gattaca...

perl
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:46 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by perl » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:53 pm

The ethical issue with DNA testing that comes up most frequently is paternity surprises. About 12% of people tested find that their biological father is not who they thought was their father. The impact on families of learning this can be enormous

jbranx
Posts: 187
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:57 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by jbranx » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:34 am

My wife and I weighed all these issues before ultimately deciding, mainly for medical reasons, to do the tests. In my case, a GI doc who cared more than I do, shipped off a specimen to two university labs for genetic testing for my condition without my permission! So, I decided I might as well do 23andme.com to see what else I could learn. Couple of useful things: very small chance of diabetes which is on one side of my family; high chance of A-fib, which I've alerted my internist to.

And I'm almost all English origin, which I knew, but didn't know about the 2% Neanderthal, which my wife had suspected!

My wife, a breast and other cancer survivor, decided to do a (very expensive) BRCA test so her nieces would have at least some assurance about their chances. Turned out no problem, so a big relief. She then went on to do the 23andme as well. She thinks it's a total joke and blocks their very frequent follow-ups.

I did have an unknown second cousin contact me. She was adopted far from our homeplace and was trying to find out more about her birth mother. My mom was able to supply her valuable info about her now deceased mother.

We are both on Medicare, no children, so we weren't that concerned about the downstream privacy issues, which are huge. DNA is not destiny, so I'm not sure it's any more useful than all those other tests that can be damaging with false positives. But maybe reveals far too much. All said, no regrets here.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by azurekep » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:45 am

Atgard wrote:

There will be HIPAA-type protections .
A friend of mine recently had his medical records get mixed up with somebody else's. He was "tainted" with the label of a serious disease when he was actually perfectly healthy. And he got access to private medical information on the other patient that he shouldn't have had. It was a pain to straighten this out.

Then a couple of months later, a family member's medical records were compromised due to a data breach.

I don't think we're there yet in terms of safeguarding of data and protecting privacy.

Of course, many people know this going in, so it's a matter of trade-offs.

daveydoo
Posts: 1210
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by daveydoo » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:46 am

Bob.Beeman wrote:
I guess its obvious I would never voluntarily give up my DNA. Am I being paranoid?
Kinda. Carrier state means very little -- unless you decide to have a kid with someone from your same ancestral village who's likely to carry the same minor allele. Anyone who wants your DNA can get it from your trash. And there's nothing there that's actionable -- unless you've been contesting a paternity suit. For the overwhelming majority of us, our medical future is not written in our DNA -- despite what 23&me and others would have you believe. The utility of linking "germline" genetic variants to disease states is not for diagnosis but for understanding the biology. (It's very different for the "special" genetics of cancers -- which differ from your own genome in actionable ways and that can direct therapy.)

The VA and NIH have two enormous and altruistic ventures -- the Million Veteran Program and the All of Us Program (formerly the Precision Medicine Initiative), respectively. They depend upon volunteers. The VA's effort is more than halfway to goal. If all were like you, the country would be nowhere with these. But it's like vaccines -- some benefit from the herd immunity while refusing the shots. The rest of us carry them.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Caduceus
Posts: 1627
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Caduceus » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:21 am

I've never done these tests before so I'm not sure how the application process works, but why not just send in a completely fictitious or truncated first name, with the caveat that if you do provide research-related answers to further science, you answer those honestly, and that you provide your true last name?

If your name is Mary Beth Johnson, could you just write M.B. Johnson with "M.B." in the name field? Then, reimburse a friend for paying for the order with her credit card so they don't have your actual name anywhere.

This way, the company gets accurate information for scientific research, potential relatives don't get misled by a wrong/fake last name, but no one knows your actual name. Would that work?

mouses
Posts: 3289
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by mouses » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:51 am

azurekep wrote:
Atgard wrote:

There will be HIPAA-type protections .
A friend of mine recently had his medical records get mixed up with somebody else's. He was "tainted" with the label of a serious disease when he was actually perfectly healthy. And he got access to private medical information on the other patient that he shouldn't have had. It was a pain to straighten this out.

Then a couple of months later, a family member's medical records were compromised due to a data breach.

I don't think we're there yet in terms of safeguarding of data and protecting privacy.

Of course, many people know this going in, so it's a matter of trade-offs.
My state has legislation in progress what would let the feds rummage through our prescription records without a search warrant. I understand from reading news articles about this that a lot of other states allow this. So much for medical privacy. (The supposed justification for this legislation is to help the highly successful war on drugs.)

Plus some of the medical patient portals I have accounts on mandate fixed usernames and sometimes passwords that are so obvious they're a joke, except it isn't funny.

User avatar
Geneyus
Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:49 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Geneyus » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:46 pm

Rupert wrote:
Geneyus wrote:My health care provider recently announced that you can submit a DNA sample, and they will see what prescription drugs work best for your body when prescribing treatment. Drugs influence people differently, and you can use your DNA to find out which drug works best for you, at the lowest dose. The future is now.

You should have heard the uproar and conspiracies when it was announced at our enrollment meeting. It's completely optional, but people were getting upset about the idea of people looking at their DNA. I think it's a great idea for serious treatments, like cancer drugs, but I'm not interested for flu and other illnesses.
By "health care provider" do you mean your health insurance company? If so, then you ought to wonder why your doctor(s) haven't mentioned this to you, right? The future is not now; it's the future. I think there are still very few conditions where this testing might be helpful to you, and your doctor(s) will surely mention it if you have one of those conditions.
I should have said "health care administrator". It's the actual company that handles claims, coverage, etc.

bowtie
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:41 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by bowtie » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:00 pm

I was wondering if 23 and me was so obviously wrong on specific physical characteristics that poster sawhorse wrote about, what other medical items might be in error as well? Any thoughts? Some on here have remarked on important findings that were useful.
By the way, I am not familiar with "detached earlobe" ....
I've had friends who've recommended both ancestry and 23, but I never did either myself.

Uniballer
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:55 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Uniballer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:28 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:32 pm
DNA testing is perfectly safe...if you don't mind meeting a younger cloned version of yourself walking down the street. What could possibly go wrong?
How would you resolve an identity theft case when the two claimants have identical DNA?

MrMojoRisin
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:25 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by MrMojoRisin » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:54 pm

Wife is big in genealogy and as a result has had several members of our family tested.

She was contacted by a person in England who was researching her mother's DNA. Seems her mother was conceived during WWII by an Allied service man. How did that tie to us?

Seems my son (at that time I had not been sampled) and her mother share a common male ancestor not too many generations back. So now my wife is looking at all of my male ancestors and their descendants that served in England around 1943.

Broken Man 1999
Posts: 1129
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:18 pm

perl wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:53 pm
The ethical issue with DNA testing that comes up most frequently is paternity surprises. About 12% of people tested find that their biological father is not who they thought was their father. The impact on families of learning this can be enormous
I imagine it would certainly be awkward family conversation at Thanksgiving dinner! :shock:
I'm sticking with the tried and true old saying, "Two things you never know for sure are who your real daddy was and when you are going to die!"
Of course now one part of the saying might need to be changed in certain circumstances to "You know who your real daddy wasn't" if tested, I suppose.:oops:

Awkward...... just awkward.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

Dottie57
Posts: 3437
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:54 pm

I thought 23andMe DNA test wasinteresting

Mom's family came from Prussia which came out in the test. We didn't know much about dad's family, but it turns out to be a grab bag with English, French , German, Scandanavian. Also small percent of Ashkenasi Jewish, Asian/american Indian and Subsahran African.

joyceg2797
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:38 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by joyceg2797 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:23 pm

A close friend got tested through Ancestry.com. He then got an email from a stranger who explained that she had been informed that she and my friend were "first cousins or closer." Since she was adopted, she was interested in finding out about her biological relatives. My friend eventually figured out this was a daughter of his father, born out of wedlock and kept secret all this time. At this point everybody is okay with it but keep in mind if you get tested you may be opening this sort of family Pandora's box.

focusedonwhatmatters
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:49 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by focusedonwhatmatters » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:30 pm

Genetic data can/is being hacked, for purposes not yet apparent. Unlike a financial data hack, you can’t just change your DNA like you can change your credit card....

Here are a few pieces on the topic of DNA hacking:

http://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/03/14/bi ... g-dna.html

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/03/21/hack ... 47975.html

https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0117 ... ckers.html

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-bio-crime-prophecy

randomguy
Posts: 5630
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by randomguy » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:45 pm

pangea33 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:00 am
I'm not interested in providing that information either. It doesn't even seem that useful for identifying the family tree. Seeing that I have 6% DNA suggesting a particular nationality doesn't really give me more insight than researching ancestral birth records.

It seems to me that DNA results reveal a lot more information that could be useful to insurance companies, and it's highly unlikely the findings would be used to REDUCE my insurance rates. I'll just refrain from willingly providing my genetic material to a company with several of pages of boilerplate legal jargon for little payoff.
I expect most peoples rates would drop. Pools would form of only people without various gene markers who would be statically healthier/less like to die early. That is probably like 90%+ of the population with current tests. The "unhealthy" people on the other hand would see major increases as they would no longer be subsidized.

randomguy
Posts: 5630
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by randomguy » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:04 pm

perl wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:53 pm
The ethical issue with DNA testing that comes up most frequently is paternity surprises. About 12% of people tested find that their biological father is not who they thought was their father. The impact on families of learning this can be enormous
I think that number is deceptive as I believe it is the one given for paternity tests/people looking for a father (i.e. adopted kids) which really skews the number up. In the general population the estimates I have seen are in the 1-2% range but a quick google isn't turning up the paper that gave that number and it might be a subset (i.e. something like married couples having a kid) and not the general population. There are other risks like half siblings, adoptions, and the like though that could spice up family life. As the price drops and the database grows your odds of discovering "secrets" like this grows especially when you can go back a couple of generations and have a couple dozen people living their lives.

OnTrack
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:16 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by OnTrack » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:58 am

goblue100 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:26 am
Cliff notes. Off beat filmmaker becomes a suspect in a murder because they ran the DNA evidence against the public database from ancestry.com. I don't recall all of the science, but he didn't do it, and the match wasn't really close enough but the cops engaged in a bit of a witch hunt. I'm sure it was not pleasant for him.
Edit: His father was the one that had submitted the sample. They didn't think he did it, so they went after family members.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-dna-of- ... gie-dodge/
Agree. Similar comments from another thread:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=234342&p=3662067#p3662067
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=234342&p=3667672#p3667672

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 35888
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by nisiprius » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:16 am

I would not dream of voluntarily taking an unnecessary DNA test for no better reason than curiosity, in the state of things as of 2018. The big problem is that once that data is out there, you can't get it back.

Information you gave for one purpose gets used for another. Information you get in order to get a car loan gets sold to employers who use it do decide whom to hire or promote.

Privacy law is weak and changeable. Government agencies--and health insurance companies--are strong and--to paraphrase dialogue from "Dr. Strangelove:" "But I thought they weren't authorized to do that." "It appears that they may have exceeded their authorization."

And, most important, stuff changes. Voluntary company policy changes. And companies themselves change if they get into business trouble. Assume that if the company that tested your DNA goes out of business, your DNA records will be sold to the highest bidder, because previous company policy will no longer be binding.

eToys had a very simple privacy policy: "eToys does not sell, rent, or loan any identifiable information regarding its customers to any third party. Any information you give us is held with the utmost care and security, and will not be used in ways to which you have not consented." They had a TRUSTe certification that they'd been audited for compliance with their own policy. They had business problems. They went bankrupt. One of the first things they did in bankruptcy was to ask the court permission to sell their customer information. (It became public, there was an outcry, so it didn't happen, but it illustrates the problem).
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 3141
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:20 am

Do those who are worried about their DNA getting hacked have someone else lick their envelopes or incinerate their trash?

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/ ... story.html

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 35888
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by nisiprius » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:18 am

lthenderson wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:20 am
Do those who are worried about their DNA getting hacked have someone else lick their envelopes or incinerate their trash?

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/ ... story.html
If someone seriously wants my DNA and is actually targeting me individually, they will get it. Just as (at least in detective stories) people get tricked into giving their fingerprints by being handed something smooth and shiny. There are no absolutes.

But there is a big difference between someone going to the effort of picking through my trash (during the short time it's out on the sidewalk?) and me not only handing over a DNA sample but personally paying the cost of having it analyzed, and then having the analysis results entered into a database of millions of analyses for easy searching.

Beside, lick an envelope, seriously? I don't even know where to buy envelopes with old-fashioned gummed flaps, do you? I'm sure they exist but the ones I buy casually anywhere, any time I need envelopes, are self-sticking, as are the stamp I put on them. Do you even have an envelope moistener (moist sponge gadget) in your desk drawer? It's been decades since I've had one. And, come to think of it... you don't fill an envelope moistener with spit.

Oh, OK. Yeah. Greeting cards. You still lick those, I think. I'll be extra careful around Christmas time.

Security tip: never write SWAK on your envelopes. It tells the trash-pickers which envelopes to take.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

AF_Engineer
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:05 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by AF_Engineer » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:22 pm

I have to share a pretty amazing story that just happened: I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was adopted at 4 months old, unsure of who my bio parents were. When I was older I had the adoption home do a few searches (as recently as a few years ago), but they couldn't find them - my main interest was medical history. About 3 years ago I got my DNA tested, and made my results searchable on one of the popular sites. About 3 weeks ago (just shy of my 50th birthday), I got an e-mail out of the blue from a guy whose mom gave him a DNA test kit on a whim....and who turned out to be my biological brother. Unfortunately our bio dad died a couple of years ago, but I am now exchanging info with a whole new family I never know I had. You just never know who will emerge from your family tree! :P

kosomoto
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:51 pm

Re: Is it Safe to Get Your DNA Tested?

Post by kosomoto » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:21 pm

mnaspbh wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:06 pm
c078342 wrote:Yikes, I can't believe you people are so paranoid about privacy. Get over it. Many people using DNA testing, I will bet, are of Medicare age, so pre-existing conditions are moot. The only "danger" I see is a surprise re ancestry. I knew by paternal family was from England since the Pilgrims and that my maternal side was from the Rhine valley, via Ellis Island in the late 1800's. What Ancestry.com told me was I am 39% Scandinavian, 30% Irish, 11% Italy/Greece, 8% British, and 5% both Iberian Peninsula and Western European, among other tidbits. Well, the Scandinavian part I can see since the Vikings were largely settled in the area I knew my ancestors were from. The Irish part is a complete mystery, no one in my family ever mentioned Irish family, same for Italy/Greece. My mother was daughter of 1st generation German immigrants. So go figure. I plan on additional DNA testing by others when I get some play money.
Even if there are zero consequences to getting my DNA tested, I don't want to risk making my children or grandchildren uninsurable or subject to employment discrimination just because they might have inherited an increased risk for some condition from me or my parents. I don't want them getting barred from purchasing long-term care insurance or life insurance (which can happen under current law) or anything else in the future as laws change.

Once you've had your DNA tested, you can never answer "no" to any questions about it on any application without committing fraud. Your descendants can't either, if the question asks if their parents or grandparents have been tested.

This kind of discrimination isn't a crazy paranoid concern. It's already starting to happen for LTCI and life insurance in some cases. And just look at the history of racial discrimination in the South ("a single drop of blood") for a very real example.

The ancestry tests aren't even very accurate. As others have observed, it's very likely you'll get different results if you get tested by different companies. When the tests disagree, what do you do with the results?
No company is checking people’s DNA prior to hiring them. If they wanted to though, they would simply make it a requirement for employment and you wouldn’t have a way around it anyways.

Yes, long term care companies are checking DNA or starting to. This allows them to fairly price their product. If you’re so determined to get more out of insurance than you put in then you are contributing to the insurance model’s unsustainability.

The worries are seriously overblown, or people are worrying they will finally need to pay a fair amount for their insurance given what it actually costs.

Post Reply