23andme now in the UK

So, 23andme are now in the UK. We had a discussion about them a couple of months ago on the show; @jeremy and @bryanlunduke had both used the service in the past. I can now do so if I want… should I?

I will not be using the service and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else too either. Their business model is unclear and I don’t suppose for one second that they will analyse the DNA email you your report then immediately delete both the email and the data.

They are going to end up creating a massive database of DNA records, which can be used for good in that it may be used to identify links between certain illnesses and genes. This is good if it’s used to develop a better test or treatment for said illness but not if 23andme are selling the data to your health insurance or life assurance to potentially increase the cost of your premiums.

In the end it’s matter of personal opinion and how much you consider privacy important to you. In many circumstances I am happy for people to know who I am which is why I use my real name on this site but there are times when I want a certain amount of anonymity when I do I don’t use my real name and consider using tor for example.

I’m not necessarily saying 23andme will sell your personal data but as a commercial company the temptation to provide access to the data will be hard to resist, if not now at some time in the future.

Also I’m not sure how useful the report you receive will be as many of the know connections between DNA and other attributes have only been shown to be statistically significant and are only an indication of an increased/reduced risk or probability: Not a clear indicator one way or the other.

I wonder how long it will be before the insurance companies will make it a force of policy to have DNA testing along with the other screening they do.

To be fair, both of us said we’d likely make different decisions given the data we have today.

–jeremy

Yeah, that’s what I thought was the case; so it’s a big no, then :smile:

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