Is It Safe To Get Your DNA Tested?
Articles Blog

Is It Safe To Get Your DNA Tested?

Hi, this is Kate from MinuteEarth. Recently, a couple of us got our DNA tested. We learned lots of stuff about ourselves from
the analysis, but adding our genetic data to
all the other personal information currently living on the world’s servers also made us
wonder: Is that data safe? It turns out that commercial genetic testing
companies only analyze .02% of your DNA, which means that even if someone got a hold of your
genetic data, they couldn’t actually clone you. However, that tiny subset is a highlight reel
of the genes that vary from one person to the next – so someone with access to that
subset – and the right knowledge and tools – could not only recreate most of your genetic
report, but also figure out roughly what your face looks like. And by comparing certain sections of your
code with genetic data from people who have participated in open-source projects, they
could probably even figure out who some of your relatives are, and perhaps even triangulate
from there to put a name to your face. Still, according the the independent expert
we talked to for this video, genetic testing companies take data security pretty seriously,
so the likelihood of a server hack is pretty low. However, ultimately, your unique string of
genetic letters are only as secure as the string of letters you use to access them. If you’re like the 80% of people who use the
same username and password over and over again, hackers would just need to break in to a less
secure site and steal your credentials to gain full access to your genetic data. That data could someday be sold on the black
market to medical fraudsters. And it would probably also be valuable on
the regular market: Using DNA found at crime scenes, law enforcement officials have already
accessed genetic databases to search for suspects (and their relatives). Advertisers – who already buy lists of people
with certain medical conditions to serve targeted ads – could use genetic information to target
people in even creepier ways. Employers, who already scan prospective employees’
Facebook feeds for signs of trouble, might one day try to take a peek at applicants’
DNA, too. And of course, insurance companies could profit
by denying coverage to people with certain illness-linked genes. The good news is that – right now at least
– there are laws in some places that prohibit employers and health insurance companies from
gene-based discrimination. And most genetic data companies explicitly
promise not to hand over any personal genetic data to anyone except authorities with a court
order. What’s more, if you ask them to, testing companies
will trash your spit sample and your data. But whether you decide to get your DNA tested
or not, putting your personal information out there will probably never be totally risk-free,
so the best thing you can do to keep your unique string of letters private is to make
each of those other strings of letters – and numbers, and special characters – unique,
too. This video was sponsored by Dashlane, a password
manager that generates and stores secure passwords for your accounts. It’s no coincidence that a password manager
is sponsoring this video – we actually reached out to Dashlane when we realized just how
important password security is to this question of safeguarding our genetic data. Our team has been using Dashlane for years,
both for personal use and to share MinuteEarth’s account credentials with one another. To get Dashlane for free today, simply click
on the link in the description; you can also use the special promo code youtube2018 to
get 10% off Dashlane Premium.

100 thoughts on “Is It Safe To Get Your DNA Tested?

  1. I already have a password manager. It's open-source, it encrypts everything with AES, and it keeps it in a file on my computer so there's no risk of data kept "in the cloud" being stolen. I know I sound paranoid, but I like to keep safe.

    It's called KeePass (; there are versions for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.

  2. PLEASE DO NOT tell people to use terrible passwords with special characters and numbers littered everywhere. They will not do it AND it's less secure than easier to remember passwords. Check out this XKCD comic for great passwords:, and if you don't trust comics there's 83 pages of government guidelines that say the same thing:

  3. Lmao why even bother having normal passwords just get the string of letters in your genetic data and use that for your password

  4. In Iceland, which has a relatively closed population (not too much traffic out/in), the government collected records of everyone's DNA with approval from citizens. The records help in tracing human genetics. Long story short, Decode Genetics, which conducted the collection, was bought by an enormous, private company (Amgen), which now does as it pleases with the records. Trust for money-mongers is shaky at best.

  5. This might sound like I'm a eugenicist, but why don't the governments let the insurance companies discriminate against people with weak hearts, then they die off, then the next generation likely has slightly fewer​ heart conditions, and so on?

  6. some links on the bio data issue.
    -written testimony at bottom of page
    -video recording of hearing available in link provided (Time point 4:47:00)

  7. there are articles about the dna companies that sell your dna, h3h3 brought that up in there newer video

  8. DNA based discrimination is a really fucked up concept on paper but in reality it's no different to say, discriminating against the disabled now, you're still treating someone unfairly based on attributes they can't control but you can justify the different treatment with being physically or mentally different.

    DNA is far more likely to become a form of ID rather than being sold for targeted ads particularly in countrys like england where the only legal advertisement for medication is through doctors prescriptions.
    think about it, everyone has unique DNA, identical twins might be an exception but generally even siblings have entirely different dna from each other hence it's used for police investigations.

    but even if it did get sold so what? if employers discriminate the government will have to prevent it or give them disability since they're not fit to work.
    if an advertiser gets a hold of it they can target ad your a medication, oh the horror i'm getting treated for a desies i didn't even know i had and can just search that drug for cheaper deals.
    cloning? the horror there's another me i'll never meet.

    now i do agree with the message of being more secure and being weary about government and buisiness policy but we've been using DNA for years for police investigations, it's already a form of identification that's kept in police databases.
    scare mongering people into pushing back against progressing DNA research is really stupid, the more samples the more we can compare and seeing which links cause which problems and if an employer can know you have that bad gene then researchers can start finding ways to edit that gene so it isn't harmful.

  9. I'm unsubscribing after this video. I try to avoid ads the whole time and then I get this 3 minute shameless promo.

  10. Don't flatter yourself and think you are that important that someone clones you from your genetic data. People like Usain Bolt should be worried, not you and i.

  11. 23andme has already given away people's genetic information to 13 outside pharmaceutical firms and the privacy policy stated that the company can keep whatever information given to them for as long as they wanted and could share it in any way….

  12. for example, i have added letters or taken away letters in my usernames and passwords! there are also even password variations. For example, minorfraudalistic becomes minnowcranelisters.

  13. I'm disappointed that you basically glossed over police access to such databases. There doesn't seem to be any standard for how close a match is needed to "justify" police invasion of the privacy of innocent people.

  14. Yeah, there's a reason I have three tiers of password security depending on how much trouble I'd be in if someone got ahold of my password for that site.

    Low to non-secure: A simple password I share with my friend which is basically just for keeping strangers from getting into the temporary servers we run for playing co-op games together.

    Low to medium secure: A single more complex password I use for unimportant forums and other sites I don't care about much but need a password to access.

    Medium to high secure: A unique password per site containing both numbers and letters.

    I started doing these tiers after someone broke into my WoW account and one of my first thoughts is "I share this password with my bank account!", so the first thing I did after locking down my WoW account was go change my bank password, and it's been unique ever since because that was a helluva scare.

  15. 0:14 I'm sorry but I really have a hard time believing that photo in the top left is any different from what your stick figure normally looks like.

  16. So.. people with recessive/bad genes will suffer and inturn it would become harder for everyone to forward those recessive/bad genes. Isn't that a good thing in long term?
    Wouldn't that help our evolution indirectly. I mean survival is all about forwarding good genes right?

  17. This is STUPID. My login to 23andme does NOT GIVE ME ACCESS TO MY DNA SEQUENCE. It only gives me access to their analysis which is either geneological or some medical conditions if that option was chosen.

    All of the fears that I have heard so far (beyond a Gattaca future, which simply has to be legislated against or it WILL HAPPEN) are STUPID or EMPTY.

    Just EXACTLY WHAT do you think someone will do with YOUR SPECIFIC 2% of your GENETIC SEQUENCE??? They're not going to clone you, and they're not going to create a virus that targets just you. It's all STUIPD IGNORANT FEAR MONGERING.

    What exactly could be "creepier" about drug marketing???

    This entire video is simply playing into all the fear mongering that is going on.

  18. Is it safe to fart alone in the desert?
    Well, a your average magical hacker could sniff it and trace your unique methane signature back to you. From this they might triangulate where in the world you are likely to fart, thereby building a fart portfolio.
    Bottom-line, farting in the desert, or anywhere, isn't completely risk-free.

  19. Since its prolly the government in the first place that helps funds their research and what not, they are not "throwing it away if you ask them to".

  20. Im sick of the tin foil hats telling me things like you could be punished for crimes or singled out and they own your dna for all time ! It’s making me paranoid.

  21. So here's what I thought:
    Your account is your body.
    Your password to that account is your DNA.
    And then Google asks you to change your password due to security issues. So we have to change our DNA regularly? 😂

  22. Wrong: they only 'trash' your DNA if they are currently not doing ANY kind of study or research with it!! They aren't legally bound to destroy it if they see something interesting to them, and enroll it into some kind of scientific study etc. Tag the fine print properly.

  23. 2:32 I think you might say "what the fu-" in the top left corner just like what I said
    I'm also the 800th comment

  24. You absolutely, no holds barred, need to disclose the amount of times you have been sponsored by 23andme before I believe a single "this company that gives us money is totally safe, guys!" line. No, they didn't sponsor THIS video, but they certainly do give you a fair chunk of change for the amount of videos they HAVE sponsored.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top