Genomics

Human genomics refers to the study and manipulation of the complete set of human DNA. This category includes genetic tests, commercial DNA databases, and DNA forensics.

In medical settings, genetic tests can assist with diagnoses, determine carrier status, and provide information about disease risk and drug response. Since the mid-2000s, commercial enterprises have offered direct-to-consumer genetic testing for both health-related and ancestry information, raising questions from experts and oversight agencies about inaccurate or misunderstood results, violations of genetic privacy, and misuses of genetic data. Genetic sequencing is also increasingly used in the criminal justice system, both for exoneration and for identifying and tracking down suspects. Police DNA databases, which in many jurisdictions include people who have been arrested for but never convicted of a crime, raise concerns about false leads, individual and familial privacy, civil liberties violations, and racial discrimination. 

 

 

Biopolitical Times

Ancestry Testing and Forensics

FamilyTreeDNA has produced a TV ad with a remarkable sales pitch: Help the police by signing up with us. The commercial features the father of a crime victim:

“When a loved one is a victim of a violent crime, families want answers … your help can provide the missing link.”

The company is the oldest DNA ancestry testing service, but not the largest. Evidently they hope to increase their database by incorporating data generated by...

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Some of my ancestors might live just up the street. They are the people who own the black camper van with a decal brandishing the words “Irish Pride.” I pass their house on my walks, a little unsure where ethnic...

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The first drafts of the human genome, published in Nature and Science 20 years ago, flung open the doors for...

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When scientists set out to sequence the entire human genome in 1990, it was considered an undertaking on par with...

Earth in a pair of hands

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Cover of the book "The Genetic Lottery" by Kathryn Paige Harden

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Gloved hand drawing blood from a baby's foot

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23andMe spit kit

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test tubes of blood with purple and red stoppers in a yellow grid

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sillhouette of a woman with superimposed DNA double helix next to "Do Not Patent My Genes" and the ACLU logo

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ancestryDNA test tube

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Chaco Canyon ruins

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