12 - Is genealogical DNA testing democratizing or commercializing genetics?

Thu, Feb 23

In today's class, we'll consider the ethical impacts of the DNA testing ancestry kits such as the ones provided by 23 and Me or Ancestry.com. These kits were developed and marketed to give individuals information about their genealogical ancestry and estimate ethnic mixture. While genealogical testing has become commercially widespread, there are associated concerns for the effective creation of genetic databases. 

The learning goals for today's class include: 

  • Consider how DNA testing might provide a case study for thinking about the ethics of privacy
  • Understand how the creation of datasets may raise ethical questions for use

The slides for today's lecture can be found here

Read This:

Via Perusall: 


Do This:

Remember that Writing Reflection 2 is due today, be sure to submit a copy to Canvas and bring a hard copy to class.


As you prepare for class consider the following questions: 

  • What ethical protections are required for creating large sensitive datasets?
  • Do consumers/patients need to be notified when their shared information is used?
  • Like attention should genetic information be sellable/commercialized? Who is this good for? Who is disadvantaged?



Watch This:

In Lieu of watching a video, listen to the following NYTimes Sway podcast interview with Anne Wojcicki the founder of 23andMe.