23andMe strikes deal to share DNA, clients have to opt out

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 20:24:34-04

More than 5 million people have turned over their DNA to genetic testing company 23andMe.

Some want to know about potential diseases; others wonder who else shares their genes.

The company already uses client DNA for its research and recently announced it's about to hand over that information to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

The company makes drugs like Advair, Flonase, and Levitra.

In her blog, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki praises the partnership saying "we believe we will accelerate the development of breakthroughs" in curing diseases.

The company claims individuals will not be identified.  

But what if you don't want a pharmaceutical company knowing everything about your DNA?

You have to opt out.

Log in to your account, and go to Preferences. Once there, the Research section gives you the option to remove your consent.

The agreement is to last for four years, with an option for a fifth. No word on what happens to client DNA once the agreement expires.

As genetic testing becomes more easily available, it's important to question not only who has access to your information now, but who may be looking at it later.