Articles on DNA testing

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Individuals who upload their DNA test results to databases may not have much control over how it’s used. (Shutterstock)

DNA database sold to help law-enforcement crack cold cases

Can the new owner of GEDmatch ,a genealogy database preserve its original purpose while allowing a seamless service to law enforcement?
No, a DNA swab can’t tell you if you’re gay, or likely to be obese, or depressed. And it can be damaging to believe so. Shutterstock

‘Gay gene’ testing apps aren’t just misleading – they’re dangerous

Genetic apps claim to reveal fundamental insights about your health, well-being, and even intellect. But it's not just spurious science - believing these traits are genetic can have harmful consequences.
DNA database giant Ancestry lets members access international records including the convict and free settler lists, passenger lists, Australian and New Zealand electoral rolls and military records. Patrick Alexander/Flickr

If you’ve given your DNA to a DNA database, US police may now have access to it

A US judge has allowed police access to the major DNA database without users' consent (including Australian users). It's a timely reminder that we urgently need genetic privacy legislation.
Polygenic risk scores currently account for only a small proportion of your total genetic risk. Shutterstock

Genetic risk tests are now widely available, but they aren’t always useful – and could even be harmful

Most common chronic diseases are the outcome of complex interactions between genetic, environmental and social risk factors, so a genetic risk score, on its own, isn't much help.
What are the rules that make a man a father? Slava Potik/Unsplash

Who’s your daddy? Don’t ask a DNA test

Before the advent of genetic testing, definitions of paternity were primarily social and legal. Science has destabilized these older definitions, but it has not replaced them.
We’ve underestimated the extent of mixing between ancestral groups throughout human history. from www.shutterstock.com

How DNA ancestry testing can change our ideas of who we are

Estimating our ancestry is hard – because our backgrounds are much more mixed up than we thought. So don't take your DNA ancestry test results literally: they're just a prediction.
Genetic ancestry testing might all seem like harmless fun, but there is a downside. (Shutterstock)

Genetic ancestry tests don’t change your identity, but you might

The results of genetic ancestry tests are grossly over-simplified. A new study shows the tests reinforce what you want to believe rather than offering objective, scientific proof of who you are.
By In The Light Photography/shutterstock.com

What’s in your genome? Parents-to-be want to know

We now have the capacity to quickly and cheaply sequence an individual's genome and scour it for disease-causing genes. But how much, and what type, of information does a parent-to-be want to know?
A scientist works with DNA samples in a New Orleans laboratory in 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

You’ve got your DNA kit: Now what can you do with it?

The rapid growth of genetic testing and data-gathering could revolutionize health and medicine if governments work to protect people against privacy and societal risks.
Men can deny paternity in when women they are involved with fall pregnant as a way of punishing the women. shutterstock

Why paternity tests should become cheaper and more widely accessible

When men deny the paternity of children, many South African women feel like they have no recourse. Making DNA tests affordable and accessible could change this.

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