This year, you and your loved ones may have come across ads for a great gift to give this holiday season: cheaper-than-ever home DNA-testing kits sold by companies like 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry.
And judging by the numbers, these companies’ sales pitches have been a wild success for them, especially in 2018. Just a few weeks ago, right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Ancestry boasted that it had shattered its November sales record thanks to the post-Thanksgiving surge. Ancestry even claimed its AncestryDNA kits were the best-selling non-Amazon-branded product sold through Amazon on Cyber Monday for the second year in a row. There are also still plenty of holiday-themed deals available for the taking and surely more to come.
On the face of it, these tests seem like the perfect stocking stuffer. They’re pegged as a novel, exciting experience, one that might even bring a family closer together by revealing their shared genetic past. But in this humble writer’s opinion, consumer DNA kits are one of the last presents you want to unwrap on Christmas morning. Why? Because they can still be laughingly imprecise, are barely regulated, and most worryingly of all, could expose your identity to people you’d rather not know anything about you.
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