5 risks of sharing DNA with testing services

More consumers are turning to genetic testing services like 23andMe and Ancestry.com to have their DNA analyzed to learn about their family histories and health risks, but they should exercise caution when sharing such sensitive data, according to CNBC.

Here are five things consumers should consider before signing up:

1. Hacking. A recent incident at MyHeritage exposed more than 92 million accounts, although DNA data was not breached.

2. Selling your DNA. Some services offer consumers the opportunity to share their data for research conducted by academic, nonprofit or industry organizations. All of these companies are very clear they will only share DNA if the consumer explicitly consents.

3. Genetic privacy laws. The only law governing genetic privacy is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which bans employers and insurance companies from accessing DNA. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission reportedly began investigation some of these services amid data sharing concerns.

4. Law enforcement and courts. Officials can request access to this data under subpoena or can track down suspects using DNA submitted by relatives, like in the case of the Golden State Killer.

5. Privacy statements. Companies' business models can change quickly if they are bought, sold or closed, which means privacy statements are subject to changes as well.

More articles on data analytics & precision medicine:
UC Berkeley granted 2 CRISPR gene editing patents amid years-long ownership battle with Broad Institute
University Hospitals to deploy Allscripts' 2bPrecise for genomics
DNA testing service Dante Labs sends customers used kits

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