Monday, September 18, 2017

"A biotech startup called Orig3n and the Baltimore Ravens abruptly canceled their plans to give away a free DNA test to 55,000 football fans at Sunday’s game"

The Maryland Department of Health confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it was “in communications with Orig3n,” but declined to elaborate.

The test makes dubious claims about how four genes influence health and wellness traits, such as how your skin will age, whether you learn words quickly, and your athletic prowess. Interested fans would have dabbed the inside of their cheeks with a cotton-swab kit and dropped it off in bins around the stadium.

The company still hopes to do the promotion (“DNA Day”) at a future game. But several bioethicists and genetic experts told BuzzFeed News that the idea was troubling. Not only are Orig3n’s scientific claims suspect, they said, but giving them out so casually, and without proper consent protocols, could unknowingly compromise customers’ privacy. The company, meanwhile, stands to gain droves of new customers and add valuable genetic data to its proprietary databases.