Genetic testing is booming with people sending their DNA samples to services like Ancestry or 23andMe. The tests can tell you where your ancestors originated, reveal unknown relatives or tell you what medical conditions you should monitor. Depending on how much detail you want, services usually run from about $100 to $350. In addition to federal medical privacy laws, six states have passed measures to control how the test services can use or retain your DNA information.
Class discussion: Do you know anyone who has sent their DNA sample to a service like Ancestry? If so, why did they share this most personal of data? Are you interested finding out your family’s genetic and geographical history? Why or why not? Federal law bars health insurers and employers from using medically gathered genetic information to discriminate against an individual. But, the law doesn’t cover DNA voluntarily sent to one of the testing services. Do we need laws to cover that information? Should it be up to individual states or Congress to protect consumer privacy?
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