Is It Safe To Get Your DNA Tested?

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Once it’s out of your body, your genetic information is valuable to a variety of people, but you can keep it safe(ish) with a few simple steps.


To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Personal Genetic Analysis: Direct-to-consumer DNA testing, usually through mail-in saliva samples.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism: A variation at a single spot on the genome that is present in some part of the population.
Genotyping chip: A microarray that allows genetic testing companies to test a DNA sample for hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Health Care Fraud: A crime that usually involves misrepresenting medical information in order to make money.
Targeted Advertising: The practice of placing ads based on consumer demographics or behavior.
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act: A 2008 American law that prohibits health insurers and employers from using genetic information when making coverage or hiring decisions.

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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: David Goldenberg (@dgoldenberg)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Jesse Agar
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Alex Reich, Ever Salazar, Peter Reich
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:



Melissa Gymrek, Amy L. McGuire, David Golan, Eran Halperin, Yaniv Erlich (2013). Identifying Personal Genomes by Surname Inference. Science. 339:6117 (321-324). Retrieved from:

Joh, E. (2011). DNA Theft: Recognizing the Crime of Nonconsensual Genetic Collection and Testing. Boston University Law Review. 91:2 (666-700) Retrieved from:

Tanner, A. (2017). Our Bodies, Our Data: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records. Available at:

Koerner, B. (2015). Your Relative’s DNA Could Turn You Into A Suspect. Wired. Retrieved from:

Pollack, A. (2015). Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA. New Yourk Times. Retrieved from:

Cappos, Justin. (2017). Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, NYU. Personal Communication.

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