Of course, ancestry isn’t the only information available in your genome. Companies like 23andMe also promise to estimate your risk of developing various diseases — the company recently announced that their tests will estimate the risk of developing diabetes. The company will also tell you about your risk of developing Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Sam Westreich, PhD
A relative of my significant other had this done, primarily because she wanted to assess her predisposition for the various digestive-disorders she thinks she has. That is not to say people don’t have legitimate dietary restrictions, but some people do go a hint overboard.
Anyway, she read over the report she received. It was assiduously detailed to the point of isolating the dominant genes of their family line (eye color, types of earlobes, even the likelihood of having runnier wet-wax in your ears — yeah, that’s a thing).
While I have a degree in biotechnology, I do not necessarily agree these tests are the best thing ever. Sure, they’ve been used to solve crimes. Sure, they’ve helped identify potential diseases existing in family lines. But what happens when a company (in their tiny legalize) tells you they have the right to do whatever they want with your little vial of spit? What happens if/when they amalgamate this information and eventually bills are passed that deny or increase the amount of money you spend on health coverage because you might develop a heart condition? Without even considering epigenetic factors. It starts becoming very Gattaca. Gattaca is a 1997 film depicting a society whereupon people are placed into a genetic caste-system dividing up those deemed superior and inferior based solely on their genetics. The superiors automatically receive preferential treatment in terms of education, jobs, etc. while the less than desirable individuals are given limited resources and opportunities.
The use or misuse of this technology can become something of a slippery slope, is all I am saying.