There are many websites on the Internet that offer to reveal your ancestral data from your DNA. The principle is simple: you pay for a kit, use it to extract the DNA and send it back for analysis. However, have you ever wondered what the company does with your data after sending it? Do you know that your DNA is worth the money in the market?
Let’s explore the shaded underside of the great ancestral trackers and how you can cleanse your data from their records, if you wish.
Why do companies care about your DNA?
When you use a DNA kit to see your heritage, it is stored in a database for later use. When an organization wants to use it, it is usually for one of two reasons: law enforcement and drug development.
Why law enforcement want your DNA data
Of course, if the law wants your DNA data, it’s not something the company can make money from. However, it should be noted that this can happen if you decide to use one of these services.
Police usually look for DNA data if they have a crime to solve but only have traces of DNA. This can happen even if you are not the direct suspect. If the police are looking for similarities and it turns out that you are the parent of the offender, they can approach you for more details.
The law cannot simply access DNA databases at all times, but companies bend when a court decision comes into play. This tactic works and has been used to track down a serial killer once, it is therefore a card that the police will play from time to time.
Why pharmaceutical companies want your data
This is where a test company will make money from your DNA. This information is very useful for pharmaceutical companies, which are interested in DNA data to further develop their drugs.
For example, in 2018, GlaxoSmithKline Acquires $ 300 Million Stake In 23andMe, a popular DNA testing website. The goal was for GSK to use DNA data to develop new and better drugs.
In fact, the DNA database was so good at developing drugs, 23andMe stepped forward in early 2020 by selling the rights to a drug they developed to Almirall, a Spanish pharmaceutical product.
Should you use these services?
The fact is, even if companies can take advantage of your genetic data, some will argue that it is not entirely a bad thing. After all, if people are using your DNA to catch serial killers and develop new drugs, what’s the problem?
As such, it is up to you to decide whether these uses of your DNA data are more or less important than your privacy. Data delivery is always easy; getting a company to delete it again is the hardest part.
It is helpful if you also choose a reputable and privacy-friendly company to perform the DNA test. If you want to know who your ancestors are but don’t like the idea of handing over your data, try our picks of the best privacy-friendly DNA test websites.
How to delete your data from larger websites
If you have already submitted DNA samples to a large company and want to delete this data, there are ways to submit a request to have your information removed from their database.
For Ancestry, visit AncestryDNA support page for more information. The steps are to access your settings page and scroll down to “Delete DNA test results and revoke consent to treatment”.
Fortunately, 23andMe has made their DNA removal process much easier than it once was. According to their support page, you can access your account service and delete your account to browse their DNA information database.
Although it is one of the top three DNA testing websites, it did not give DNA data to another company, unlike the other two.
MyHeritage allows you to manage each of your individual DNA kits registered under your account. Going to Manage DNA kits, you can manually delete each kit to delete the data.
DNA, your way
DNA kits can reveal a lot about your heritage, but they can also save the DNA analysis company a lot of money through drug research. You now know how DNA companies use your data, whether you agree or not.
Besides verifying your ancestral heritage, do you know that you can also store data on your DNA?
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