science
How DNA Testing Botched My Family’s Heritage, And Probably Yours, Too

My grandfather was caramel-skinned with black eyes and thick, dark hair, and until he discovered that he was adopted, he had no reason to suspect that he was not the son of two poor Mexicans as he’d always been told. When he found his adoption papers, according to family lore, he pestered the nuns at the Dallas, Texas orphanage where he had lived as an infant for the name of his birth mother. Name in hand, at 10 years old, he hopped a bus to Pennsylvania, met his birth mother, and found out that he was actually Syrian. Read More >>

privacy
Ancestry Made Its Privacy Policy More Transparent, but It Still Claims to Own Your DNA

When you spit in a test tube in in hopes of finding out about your ancestry, you’re giving companies like AncestryDNA access to a whole lot of very intimate details about what makes you, you. But how consumer genetic testing companies actually use your DNA is often obscured behind many pages of vague, jargon-filled legalese—and as I recently explored, those agreements can hide some rather terrifying clauses. Read More >>

science
Why a DNA Test Is Actually a Really Bad Gift

If you’d like to gift your loved ones the chance of unwittingly sharing extremely sensitive personal information, then a DNA testing kit may be the perfect stocking stuffer-sized present. But if you’d rather not have your mom or dad or girlfriend send away private health information with a tube of their spittle, we’d strongly suggest something else. Read More >>

science
Startup Under Scrutiny for Selling Genetic Tests Without Legal Certification

When a consumer genetic testing company planned to give away free DNA tests to Baltimore Ravens fans in September, the federal government intervened and prompted a last-minute cancellation. Now, a federal agency has found that the startup, Orig3n, does not have the necessary legal certification to sell genetic tests related to health. Read More >>

science
When Bad DNA Tests Lead to False Convictions

If you’ve ever watched a prime-time crime drama, you know that DNA evidence is often the linchpin that makes a case. Match a suspect’s DNA to DNA found at the scene of a crime and it’s certain they’re the culprit. The thing is, it’s not always that simple. Most people think of DNA testing as a monolithic, infallible technique. But there are many different kinds of tests—and many different ways of interpreting them. Sometimes, somewhere between the process of collecting evidence at the scene and processing it in the lab, something goes awry. Read More >>

science
Silly Startup Claims It Can Predict How Your Baby Will Look Based on DNA

Every aspiring parent spends some time fantasising about what their hypothetical future child might look like. Now one startup claims it can actually tell you what your unborn future children will look like, based on DNA. Read More >>

science
Do Parents Have a Right to Sue Over Their Kids’ Genetics?

It’s a nightmare scenario straight out of a primetime drama: a child-seeking couple visits a fertility clinic to try their luck with in-vitro fertilisation, only to wind up accidentally impregnated by the wrong sperm. Read More >>

science
The US Just Greenlit the First Consumer DNA Tests for Disease Risk

At times, DNA testing can feel more like horoscopes than science. In many cases, we just don’t know enough about a gene to say what it means for our health. For this reason, the US Food and Drug Administration has sought to protect consumers by preventing DNA testing companies from telling them whether or not they’re are at risk for a certain disease. Until now. Read More >>

science
How One Scientist Plans to Hunt for the Loch Ness Monster Using DNA 

UFOs. Big Foot. The Loch Ness monster. All mythologies that have propagated to explain the unexplained, the things modern science can’t quite justify or illuminate. Read More >>

science
DNA Is Being Collected to Protect Sex Workers, But It Could Also Be Used Against Them

Nearly a decade ago, Dallas police proposed a new program designed to get sex workers off the streets. Rather than just send them to jail, police would set up shop at truck stops, accompanied by counsellors, social workers and nurses, and give the sex workers a choice of either prison or talking to a counsellor. But the program also had a grimmer, more ethically fraught component — collecting sex workers’ DNA in hopes of identifying their bodies should they wind up dead. Read More >>

art
We’re Getting Closer to Finding Mona Lisa’s Skeleton

Researchers who've been hunting for Mona Lisa's skeleton are now opening up a family tomb in hopes of confirming Mona Lisa's existence. They want to confirm that bones they found last year under a convent are the remains of Lisa Gherardini. The family tomb they're cracking open is the resting place for Gherardini's two sons and husband. DNA testing would confirm their relation. Read More >>