Vox recently published a piece that examined the unexpected and sometimes painful family relationships that can be discovered by using the “Relative Finder” function on 23andMe’s personal genome service website. An anonymous individual (under the alias, George Doe) shares a personal story that highlights the practices – now revised – on how 23andMe customers can choose whether or not to learn about the existence of any close relatives who are also using the service. It is an interesting look at evolving issues of informed consent in genetic testing; as a databases grow – so does the potential for unexpected results. In a response to the Vox piece, long time friend of pgEd, Blaine Bettinger, reminds us of how “genetic exceptionalism” often makes it hard to hear all sides of the issue, and he goes on to describe the experiences of many people who have used 23andMe with very different outcomes.
Genetic testing brings families together, and sometimes tears them apart. Julia Belluz in Vox.
With genetic testing, I gave my parents the gift of divorce. George Doe in Vox.
A response to the genetic testing article in Vox. Blaine Bettinger in The Genetic Genealogist
Close relatives follow-up, from 23andMe’s CEO Anne Wojcicki (access to this article requires a 23andMe account)