How to Use $90? Buy a Gene Ring, or Burn for Warmth?

Posted by Doug Pet December 8, 2011
Biopolitical Times
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What exactly is it that makes us compatible with the people we hold dear to our hearts as loved ones? Maybe the spark lies in our common interests, or our magically and sometimes quirkily matched character traits, or it could be the overlapping histories and experiences we’ve shared. Perhaps we are connected through something more timeless  ̶  the mysterious human bonds that poets, playwrights, and love-songsters have spent the larger part of human history trying to describe.

For those tired of such subjective touchy-feely and nonscientific answers, ConnectMyDNA has come out with a stocking-stuffer that’s not to be missed: the Gene Ring. Here’s the pitch: 

What if our friendships were built on something even greater than our interests? What if we actually connect with people because our DNA is similar?

For only $89.95, ConnectMyDNA offers a personalized “Gene Ring” that allows you to compare how similar or different your genes are from those of your closest friends (who of course need to purchase their own Gene Rings).  

Think of it as your own personal fingerprint, where the green markers and where they’re positioned on each ring represent the unique values found in your DNA…You can compare Gene Rings, side by side; to see how closely your values match.  You might discover you’re more alike than you thought.

Gene Ring buyers are not limited to comparing their genes only to people whom they know. ConnectMyDNA also matches customers to a specific country where the local “population group” is the closest genetic match.  

But what are people really buying when they shell out their 90 bucks for the magical Gene Ring? A different explanatory video (which is buried on ConnectMYDNA’s YouTube page rather than the front page of their website) starts to fill in the unsurprisingly nonsensical picture:

This type of DNA test doesn’t tell you anything about your hair, your eye color, or any kind of personal information. We only look at that the 13 CODIS loci, the standard for human identification used on a global basis.

In fact, the 13 CODIS loci are currently regarded to be “junk DNA” sites, home to non-coding genetic materials, which currently are good for nothing but identifying an individual. While some speculate that advances in genetic technology may someday allow us to gain specific information from these loci, it seems more than apparent that ConnectMyDNA deals on the cutting edge of spin marketing, not the cutting edge of genetic science.  

So let’s get this straight. Prospective buyers are led to believe that the Gene Ring will reveal which of their loved ones they are most “genetically compatible” with as well as what countries they are most closely “genetically tied” to. Meanwhile the company openly admits that the genetic markers that they test for have absolutely no significance in terms of observable traits, lineage, ancestry, or anything of the sort.

ConnectMyDNA delivers its clients nothing more significant than their own fingerprint or stool sample. From there, they let people’s assumptions and misconceptions about genetics take over.

Scams that try to cash in by mixing genetic determinism with personal genomics hype are a dime a dozen, and usually do surge around the holidays. But frankly, this is ridiculous.  

Previously on Biopolitical Times