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What happens to your DNA after using a test kit?

Posted at 6:30 AM, Dec 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-11 10:30:48-05

It's your DNA. It's your family history. But do you really own those results?

They make for very popular gifts, especially during the holiday season. DNA kits are becoming more affordable as more companies fill the market.

In many cases, those sending in their DNA will be asked if they want to be a part of research.

Most people do opt in. But in some cases that information could fall into the wrong hands like advertisers and pharmaceutical companies. 

Those results could reveal things about people like predispositions to a heart condition, overeating or even gambling for example.

Principal attorney Jonathan Frutkin with Radix Law says, "The information about your DNA tests can be sold to third parties who may want to market to you. So it's really important to read the fine print."

Recent concerns were brought up at a Baltimore Ravens game where a biotech company offered fans free DNA tests if they swabbed their mouths and dropped them into a bin.

So much information being gathered and put into a database that you may not have even known existed. 

Recently New York Senator Chuck Schumer called for these companies to have clear and fair privacy policies.

The 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act protects you from discrimination by health insurers and employers based on your DNA. 

 "People should be concerned obviously that their information is going to be out there and people will be able to use it and to market to them," Frutkin says. 

23 and Me, Ancestry and My Heritage all say on their websites that they won't share your information with third parties without your explicit consent.