The untold story of Ancestry.com. Lynn Schwiebert was 67-years-old when she decided to figure out who she really was. She had spent years tracing her lineage back multiple generations. Then she took an Ancestry DNA test. “My research showed I was 100 percent British, I wanted to prove that I was right.”

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The rise of spit kits is leaving consumers with lots of data and few answers. Genetic counselors could help people understand these results, but there aren’t enough of them to go around

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Q&A featuring comments from our Juli Murphy Bollinger

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Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Institute, raises some cautions. “There’s kind of a range of issues that people need to think about before they swab their cheek and send their credit card,”. Kahn said that besides the potential of unearthing long-buried family secrets, there’s the issue of what happens to the data. Many consumers don’t realize that if they agree to all the terms, their information is likely sold

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Research shows that women overestimate their risk of cancer and overestimate the potential of dying of cancer. This anxiety may prompt women to seek aggressive interventions even when they do not have cancer

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What does that mean for genetic privacy?

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She writes, “While doctors and genetic counselors play an important role in delivering health care and health information, I am an advocate for consumers having more direct access to personalized information so they can take charge of their health”

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It’s become a familiar story in the age of consumer DNA testing: A person spits into a test tube to learn more about their genetic heritage, and ends up finding out they have a parent or sibling they didn’t know existed. It can be hard to keep family secrets under wraps when all it takes to reveal them is $99 and a mouthful of spit

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