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The promise of nebulous health benefits is a core part of the DTC genetic testing industry, and it has occupied much of the academic, media and policy debates about the industry. But it is the interest in uncovering genetic ancestry that seems to be driving recent growth. Indeed, it has been reported that AncestryDNA, the biggest player in ancestry testing, has collected somewhere between 6 and 7 million samples.

What do people hope to get from this testing? If you believe the marketing campaigns, you will, as AncestryDNA declares on its website, “discover what makes you uniquely you.” You will, as another DTC company suggests, discover more about your “DNA tribe.” And you will, as virtually every ancestry company promises in one way or another, learn about your“ethnic origins.”

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Image: By Hannob – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65337203

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