The New York Times

How to Protect Your DNA Data Before and After Taking an at-Home Test

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Consumer DNA testing kits like those from 23andMe, Ancestry.com and MyHeritage promise a road map to your genealogy and, in some cases, information about what diseases you’re most susceptible to. They also ask for a lot of trust with your DNA information — trust that, in some ways, may not be earned. Here’s how to protect and delete your data if you use any of these services.

Home DNA testing kits usually involve taking a cheek swab or saliva sample and mailing it off to the company. In that little sample is the most personal information you can share: your genetic code. Some companies share that data with law enforcement, and most sell your DNA data to third parties, after which it can become difficult to track. For some people who work for small companies or serve in the military, it can affect insurance premiums and even the ability to.

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