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Ancestry.Com and such Things


Frustr8

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I have thought about doing Ancestry.com, 23 and Me, that sort of thing. Maybe it would be interesting to find out if my ethnic heritage is what my family has always told me.
But one of my friends said it is a very bad idea, once they have your genetics on file there could be repercussions or it could be used against you by government, insurances, you might find out the man who raised you is not your biological father. One lady on Megan Kelley found out her mother was really black, she had turned her back on her family, her heritage and passed as white.
Is sending a testube and swab of saliva going to really open a can of worms I won't be able to control?

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I can neither confirm nor deny

But I remember an ethical debate in my Post Grad courses about the collected genetic materials possibly becoming patented intellectual property of the companies that harvest, store and analyze them. Much like Monsanto and grains.

Anyone else remember something along this vein? It's been years since I've done any real research on it.

At the root no one is going to be shocked and find out they are 52% Neanderthal. We are still all Homosapiens Sapiens. No disavowing humanity allowed!

Interesting thread!

Edited by GreenTealael

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2 hours ago, Frustr8 said:

I have thought about doing Ancestry.com, 23 and Me, that sort of thing. Maybe it would be interesting to find out if my ethnic heritage is what my family has always told me.
But one of my friends said it is a very bad idea, once they have your genetics on file there could be repercussions or it could be used against you by government, insurances, you might find out the man who raised you is not your biological father. One lady on Megan Kelley found out her mother was really black, she had turned her back on her family, her heritage and passed as white.
Is sending a testube and swab of saliva going to really open a can of worms I won't be able to control?

I've done both. 23andMe gives you the choice on what happens to your DNA. Ancestry.com did not.

Odds are, nothing bad is going to happen to you. If someone *REALLY* wanted your DNA, they could get it, it's not hard. I wouldn't be concerned about "who" has access to your spit DNA when your blood, samples, surgical waste, etc is all out there and available to anyone with the right access or need to know. These companies aren't going to just allow ANYONE to willy nilly access your DNA, they would go out of business if they did.

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What are the privacy issues with these tests?

The companies offering these tests largely make their money not from doing the tests, but from selling the genetic information to other companies interested in having access to large genetic databases. Almost 50 percent of the firms that sell you your ancestry information turn around and sell your genetic information to some other company.

Often these are pharmaceutical companies trying to understand how variations in certain sections of the human genome may be useful in drug development. (Certain drugs may not function as well in a person carrying certain mutations, so the companies want to find the frequency of these mutations in the population.) Only about 10 percent of the companies that offer ancestry tests destroy your original sample; the vast majority hold onto your sample or sell it. So it’s not just the data, but your actual your saliva, that’s being shopped around.

The companies offering testing services often go up for sale, and their privacy policies typically indicate that they bear no responsibility for your privacy once the company is sold—anything you signed is not reliable anymore. Many of the companies have privacy policies that state they can be changed at any time without notifying previous signers. In effect, you need to keep in contact with the company and keep yourself up-to-date on its policy. How many people are going to do that?

There’s also a lot of concern that even though your name is not listed on the database, when the data is sold to somebody, the records can be de-anonymized. It has happened before—people have been able to take genetic information with no name on it and, through other databases, find the name associated with that genetic material.

https://now.tufts.edu/articles/pulling-back-curtain-dna-ancestry-tests

The kicker for me is how accurate is it really though?

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This is fairly new technology and there are some potential risk in using this technology. At least there should be some awareness of the dangers.

One of the components of DNA testing is the add-on paid service of identifying genetically linked health conditions. But one of the problems is the DNA testing lacks the accuracy to make this determination. Therefore individuals are receiving misinformation about potential conditions that may be locked in their genes and may make invalid decision based on this misinformation.

Refer to: Home DNA Kits Lack Accuracy

Another consideration is who other than yourself has access to this data. So let us consider a hypothetical. There is a mass murder on the loose. DNA was collected from the crime scene but did not match anyone in the database. The mass murderer decides to do an ancestral genetic test. Let us say he was curious if there were other mass murderers in his genetic line. Are criminals that dumb. I suspect that some are. The result - his ancestral DNA test is used to put him behind bars.

Is that far fetched. Perhaps. But something is currently taking place that is rather close to this. This is called genetic genealogy. Unknown criminals are tracked down through their genetic DNA of their close relatives.

Refer to: DNA, genetic genealogy made 2018 the year of the cold case: 'Biggest crime-fighting breakthrough in decades'

Now I am all for putting criminals behind bars.

But let us enter the world of science fiction. Suppose in the near future someone is able to manufacture DNA. A criminal organization might be able to plant manufactured DNA evidence at a crime scene. If they were able to hack into a DNA database of individuals then they could select the individual they wanted to frame. So it might be used to put the innocent behind bars.

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I did mine and my dad's a while back, and what isn't clear is that the generic profiles are only accurate in sofar that the database they are comparing you to is large.

You don't actually have 100% accuracy, what it is is, they sample a population eg. Irish and if, say, 90% of that Irish population have the same gene markers as you, then you most likely belong to that Irish population. But you could be one of the 10% of the Irish population that don't have the same profile so you get missed. So it's only an approximation.

So don't expect really detailed information.

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Unless you are a fugitive on the run I don’t really see an issue

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Hadn't thought of it, but wouldn't it be awful to be in a Government Witness Program and have something like this "out" you. They would know who you used to be.

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A friend of mine and his twin sister did the Ancestry DNA thing. One lives in the US and the other lives in Ireland (where they're from). They had completely different results, even though they are twins.

I have a bit of a problem with me handing over my DNA to a company for "fun" with no guarantee of who or what will have access to it. I know I have at least one hereditary disease in my family but I'm not sure I want to have some corporate body having access to know about whether I have the gene or not. It is my decision as to whether I get tested for the condition, and it would piss me off tremendously if my life insurance/travel insurance/health insurance was suddenly cancelled because I have the defective gene and therefore will most likely contract a terminal illness and they found out because Ancestry or whoever sold my genetic code on.

My dad did a genealogy search of both sides of my family some years ago. He traced his family in Ireland back to the 1600's and my mother's family in England back to the 1700's. I'm pretty certain of my heritage.

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... But let us enter the world of science fiction...


You make excellent points, but riddle me this. How can you think up this possible crime crime, but don't think a team of IT scientists wouldn't come up with counter measures for such a scenario? Or even take it into account? [emoji848]

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1 hour ago, LadySin said:



You make excellent points, but riddle me this. How can you think up this possible crime crime, but don't think a team of IT scientists wouldn't come up with counter measures for such a scenario? Or even take it into account?

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That is because I am an out of box thinker. It is one of my skills.

So I consider how many websites have been hacked and personal data stolen by other entities in the past few years. Personal information on hundreds of millions of people and that is the ones we hear about. Many times these hackers are sponsored by foreign countries or criminal elements. And the data is then suddenly used for criminal activities. [These are systems that the IT scientist have come up with counter measures for such a scenario and failed.]

Next consider that the organizations storing this information probably do not even consider the DNA information to be extremely high on the privacy act material. So in general, this material is very vulnerable to attack and exploitation. Remember this business [Ancestry DNA] is a money making business. In a way it is like a hobby business dedicated to matching ancestry information. So protecting privacy is not their highest priority. And it appears that they are also in the business of selling this information.

Next consider how quickly the ability of man to replicate or modify genes has grown in the past few years.

DNA analysis has been used for several years in identifying criminals and putting them behind bars. It is almost like a gold standard.

So I see this as a vulnerability. And I like this gold standard and prefer not to see it tarnished by becoming vulnerable to abuse.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, James Marusek said:

That is because I am an out of box thinker. It is one of my skills.

So I consider how many websites have been hacked and personal data stolen by other entities in the past few years. Personal information on hundreds of millions of people and that is the ones we hear about. Many times these hackers are sponsored by foreign countries or criminal elements. And the data is then suddenly used for criminal activities. [These are systems that the IT scientist have come up with counter measures for such a scenario and failed.]

Next consider that the organizations storing this information probably do not even consider the DNA information to be extremely high on the privacy act material. So in general, this material is very vulnerable to attack and exploitation. Remember this business [Ancestry DNA] is a money making business. In a way it is like a hobby business dedicated to matching ancestry information. So protecting privacy is not their highest priority. And it appears that they are also in the business of selling this information.

Next consider how quickly the ability of man to replicate or modify genes has grown in the past few years.

DNA analysis has been used for several years in identifying criminals and putting them behind bars. It is almost like a gold standard.

So I see this as a vulnerability. And I like this gold standard and prefer not to see it tarnished by becoming vulnerable to abuse.

Again all great points. You are indeed in out the box thinker. I would a imagine those ALL those scientists are too is the point Im trying to make. They know this stuff. YOU know this stuff. A quick google search and ANYONE can learn this stuff. I'd rather believe my grandkids. who will be leading the research on human DNA resequencing, will be living in a society where such blockbuster events couldn't be kept in the shadows.

DNA analysis has indeed been used to people behind bars. Lots of guilty and innocent people have been put to death because of the "Gold Standard" DNA Analysis. You can do a good search and find plenty of verifiable stories of DNA analysis failure. That's why no prosecutor goes in with just DNA evidence alone. It Ain't perfect. Nothing is. I'm OK with that. Lets not hinder progress with fear mongering. I plan on one of my oh so many great kids being the President of The United Planets of Sol. Don't ruin my dreams!

*Just want to add the Government already has all our DNA anyway, and our parents gave the permission.. They collect it in the form of blood tests we receive as babies to check for a crap ton of disorders*

Edited by LadySin

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And Lady Sin, will you be the Sol-Mother? Oh may it be so! May I come live or at least visit your Utopia?

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38 minutes ago, Frustr8 said:

And Lady Sin, will you be the Sol-Mother? Oh may it be so! May I come live or at least visit your Utopia?

I don't know you personally but I love the majority of your posts. You're definitely welcome, but you'll already be here! Of course you and I will long be dead. I meant Sol as in Solar system. I should leave some note urging my kids to change the name. It'll get pretty awkward at galactic planet meetings full of civilizations that have their own sun as well. Sometimes more than us! Ha! One sun. So inefficient.

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Did you know for the right amount of money they will launch. your cremainsbinto Outer Space? Be just my luck to find some cut-rate group on the internet and I get used for crop-dusting instead. Gee Farmer Jones, I don't know why that application failed, maybe faulty powder!

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