Before You Send In Your Saliva

Direct-to-consumer genetic tests are popular. For a few hundred dollars, companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA promise information about disease risk for customers and their children, details about ancestry, and insights about personal characteristics—like why you may think cilantro tastes like soap.

It’s a simple process. Customers just pay, sign a waiver, and send in a cheek swab or vial of saliva. But did you know these companies can sell your genetic information? As this testing becomes more popular, Johns Hopkins genetic experts worry that consumers are taking these tests without understanding their potential pitfalls.

Read an explanation about the limitations and risks of seeking medical and ancestry insights through direct-to-consumer DNA tests.