Ancestry DNA tests are commonplace in the world today. Millions of people have spit into a vial and sent off their bodily fluid to a company in the last decade, all with the hopes to learn more about their ancestry, health, or other factors related to DNA. It’s an exciting process that can provide you with all sorts of information about yourself and tons of companies have jumped on board to interpret your DNA for a fairly inexpensive price. Even the best DNA tests may have policies you don’t know about so let’s take a look.

23andMe is the Biggest Company of All

You’ve probably heard about 23andMe, which is one of the companies we mentioned above. This is the largest of the companies on the market with other five million customers in the last 12 years. This company does things a little differently in that you get genealogical information, but you also get other data. You can find out more about your propensity for diseases and learn about traits like your eye color. It’s no surprise that people are flocking to the company to get all of this information. Because the product is inexpensive, more and more people choose to try it.

What You May Not Know

When you buy DNA ancestry tests like the one at 23andMe, the company gets more than just a bit of money for the data they provide to you. In many cases, they also get to keep the data that you provide them. While you can choose to opt-out, only about one in five customers does that. It may not seem like a big deal to you. You get fun information about your health and ancestry, and the company gets to keep your information for its own use. However, some people worry that this is a cost that isn’t worth parting with. 

An Example of the Risks

Just this year, a serial killer who terrorized an area of California was found in part because of his information being on a DNA genealogy site. The site, known as GEDmatch, was used to look through genetic profiles that matched the killer. People built a family tree on the site and in only a few days, the killer was identified and brought to justice. While this might seem exciting, be aware that you may not want your own DNA out there for anyone to tap into and you don’t have to be a criminal to feel that way.

The future of DNA tests is unknown, as are most other things when we look toward the future. However, what you should know is that you may be giving up more than money when you submit to these tests. For a lot of people, that’s not a problem at all. You never know what you might find out that changes your entire life. So take the chance or don’t, but at least you know what you’re dealing with now.