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Curiosity and Privacy

As Popular Science writes, there's been an increasing focus on data privacy recently. At the same time, more people are interested in undergoing DNA analysis to learn about their ancestry and genetics, which also brings up privacy concerns.

Popular Science spoke with three direct-to-consumer genetics testing companies, all of which told it that they only share customers' data with outside researchers if the customers have opted in to their program and that if they do share their data, it's been stripped of identifiers.

For instance, 23andMe tells it that about 80 percent of its customers take part in their research program. In one, de-identified data is shared in the aggregate, but the company says people can also choose to take part in a program in which de-identified data is shared on a single-person level.

The companies also said that customers could always get in touch to have them delete their account, data, and even sample.

The companies caution that if a customer has opted in to share their data for research and then choose to withdraw that consent, information that's already been shared can't be recalled, according to PopSci.