Viewpoint: Why turning down 23andMe’s genetic testing was right for separated immigrant families

immigrants
Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images

23andMe offered to genetically test undocumented migrants. Fortunately, some smart people said “no, thanks.”

RAICES Texas, one of the biggest nonprofit organizations that has been raising money and providing legal support to these refugee and immigrant families [separated at the border in recent enforcement actions], decided Monday [June 25] to turn 23andMe and MyHeritage away, according to KQED.

There’s no question that Spier, 23andMe, and MyHeritage had good intentions (though they surely also saw the chance at the public relations move of a lifetime). But, as publications like The Verge and USA Today noted, the project came with far more probably-unintended dangers. Because it means compiling a genetic database of asylum seekers and other immigrants who were separated from their families upon entering the U.S. and are desperate to find their families again.

Related article:  Gene drives: Why the best option for fighting mosquito-borne diseases is the 'mosquito itself'

Collecting this genetic information would give these companies — and the government, if the records were subpoenaed — the ability to trace these families for purposes far beyond reuniting parents with children. It would create a store of private information about migrants that could be devastating if leaked or sold.

While many surely thought genetic tests would be an elegant solution to a particularly upsetting problem, this is a rare case in which people have thought through the bioethical implications of their plans before moving ahead with them and making everything worse.

Read full, original post: By Turning Down 23andMe, Immigration Activists Are Actually Being Responsible About Genetic Privacy

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Sometime in 2019, probably in China, SARS CoV-2 figured out a way to interact with a specific "spike" on the ...
Untitled

Philip Njemanze: Leading African anti-GMO activist claims Gates Foundation destroying Nigeria

Nigerian anti-GMO activist, physician, and inventor pushes anti-gay and anti-GMO ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend