Getting an DNA Ancestor test home kit from Ancestry.com or some comparable site seems like a great idea. You send them a cheek swab of your DNA and they send you back information about where your ancestors come from, and how much of one ethnicity you are over another.
But don’t be so quick to send your genetic code to these feckless mercenaries. There’s much more to the bargain than just a history lesson in your own genetic heritage. Before you swab that cheek and sign on the dotted line, read the fine print on the legal contracts that you get with your package.
According to the complex legalese you’ll be signing your name to, after these genetics companies gets your personal information- you’ll still own your own DNA- but they will own it as well.
Ancestry.com, the family history website is hawking their new DNA kit and service they call AncestryDNA- and it’s cheap- real cheap when you realize how much it costs to run laboratory tests like these. So what are they getting out of co-ownership of your DNA? Ready to go down the rabbit hole? Good.
Here’s what they get; a never-ending no royalties license to use your DNA for archiving, research, or to sell. But who would buy genetic information? Insurance companies.
Your genetic code reveals the genetic diseases that you and your relatives are most likely to develop at some point in life. That means if your child, or grandchild, or great grandchild were to attempt to purchase insurance, they might be hit with huge premiums because of some genetic weakness. After all, what could be more of a pre-existing condition?
What’s more, as DNA analysis technology advances, this type of information could be used to bar certain people from getting certain types of jobs, or entering certain courses of study. It could prevent them from obtaining opportunities they would otherwise be considered for.
But if threatening the wellbeing of your distant descendants doesn’t deter you- your genetic information could be used to prevent relatives getting health insurance today- should they attempt to get it. They don’t even have to have a relationship with you if you are found to have a genetic connection with anyone- your weaknesses could become their burden.
The information could eventually find its way into the hands of law enforcement, or the federal government. Does the word pre-crime mean anything to you? Got a big tax bill? The IRS might look at your genetic profile, decide that you’re a risk for non-payment and impose harsher demands on you.
If all of this seems slightly over the top to you, you may have a point. However, Ancestry.com is open about the fact that they are transforming their organization into a medical research giant.
Ancestry.com SEO Tim Sullivan said this about the transformation from niche website to something more, “We actually do think that health is a pretty natural extension of the core mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history. We’re exploring ways that we could participate in health and provide our users with health insights, for sure….ways that we could leverage the data we’ve aggregated to support research efforts, similar to what 23andMe has done with Genentech and others.”
Ancestry.com has already started offering information on genetic markers for possible conditions like ovarian cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. These do not need any approval to be used as diagnostic tests. That means, there’s no reason insurance companies might not take an interest in acquiring as much DNA as they possibly can.
The more people who buy the service, the more complete their records are- and the more people might be denied health insurance or be labeled as a risk for [insert any risky endeavor here].
All they have to do is establish a genetic connection between an at-risk person and a relative. Once a relational connection is made, the relative is now a genetic risk as well. That means, the more people sell their DNA, the more tyrannical the results may become.
Your life may no longer be seen as a long string of endeavors and risks. You will be looked on by corporations and governments as a set of very specific liabilities.
But, of course, there’s more. DNA data is also of interest to the military for the development of genetic marker data that can allow them to create bioweapons that target certain genes.
Not convinced? Snopes said all of this is bullhonkery, and if that CIA asset is good for one thing- it’s contraindications.
~ Health Scams Exposed