One of this year’s hottest holiday gifts has privacy advocates worried.
In Tucson and elsewhere, sales of home DNA testing kits are soaring, spurred by discount pricing and ubiquitous TV ads that promise users insights into their family heritage.
But the saliva tests can also reveal propensities for diseases, and critics fear users may be putting their medical privacy at risk by providing genetic information to companies that can’t guarantee it will remain anonymous.
“It worries me that something as sensitive as a genetic test is being marketed as a stocking stuffer. This is not a parlor game,” says Peter Pitts, a former associate commissioner for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, now president of the New York City-based Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.
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