The questions of our time have become – Who owns you? Your data? What about your DNA?
For customers who opted into signing a consent form when they signed up to have their DNA sequenced through the company 23andMe, it would appear that their DNA data belongs to a giant database that is being shared and sold to third-party medical and pharmaceutical firms.
As Gizmodo reported that the company that has been featured in Walgreens stores to sequence your DNA for a cheap one-time cost of $99 has a lot more at stake:
Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe’s data to study Parkinson’s. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it’s been about selling your data all along.
Since 23andMe started in 2006, it’s convinced 800,000 customers to hand over their DNA, one vial of spit at a time.Personal DNA reports are the consumer-facing side of the business, and that’s the one we’re most familiar with. It all seems friendly and fun with a candy-colored logo and quirky reports that include the genetic variant for asparagus pee.