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Kits as Gifts

AncestryDNA sold about 1.5 million genetic testing kits this Black Friday shopping weekend, Wired reports.

It notes that the company did not give precise numbers on its sales, but said that it sold three times as many as it did in the same period last year when it sold 560,000 kits. Similarly, Wired reports that 23andMe's health test was among the top five items on Amazon's list of Black Friday bestsellers. This, Wired says, could mean a lot of genetic testing kits will wind up as holiday gifts this year.

Ancestry says it is prepared for the onslaught of kits to process, though Wired wonders whether the recipients of testing kits are prepared.

"This isn't a videogame, it's people's genetic code and it's a very valuable commodity," Peter Pitts, the president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, tells Wired. "To treat it like a toy and put it under the Christmas tree is incredibly irresponsible."

Last week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) raised concerns about agreements between genetic testing companies and consumers and whether companies could then sell consumers' genetic information. Schumer called on the Federal Trade Commission to look into the issue. Ancestry and 23andMe have said they only do what they have consent from their customers to do.