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More and more people are using home DNA testing kits (AncestryDNA, 23andMe, etc) to learn more about their ancestry, and/or to find information about their risk of developing certain diseases. These DNA testing companies can also match people to their relatives, allowing people to view the name of each match along with the likely relationship (niece, 2nd cousin, etc). The 23andMe test requires users to “opt in” to the matching service, while AncestryDNA users are automatically included in the service, but can decide to “opt out”.
For some, the matches are unexpected. A person may find out that the father who raised them is not their biological father. An adoptee could be matched with someone from their birth family; this match could allow the adoptee to identify their birth parent even if the birth parent has not tested. As you can imagine, there are some ethical issues associated with this. Read the articles linked below to learn more.
Note: the choice for AncestryDNA users to opt-out was added after this article was published.
For this discussion you should address:
Would you take one of these tests to learn about your ancestry (or, have you already taken one)? Why or why not?
If you took one of these tests, would you take part in the DNA relative matching? Again, why or why not? Do you think this DNA relative matching service is ethical? Explain.
Should all customers have to opt-in to this service, or is it enough to give them the choice to opt out? What kind of disclosure should the testing company provide to customers about the relative matching service? Should any restrictions be put in place? If yes, what kind?
When you reply to classmates, you should:
Challenge your classmate’s position by looking at another perspective and/or providing more information/examples
Pose questions to encourage classmates to explain, extend, or reconsider their position