Taking An Ancestry Test Could Make It Harder To Buy Life Insurance

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Genetic testing kits promise insights into your ancestry and could help you find long-lost relatives. But, federal regulators and consumer advocates warn there are downsides to giving away a sample of your spit: it could make it harder to buy life insurance.

Amy Jones was delighted to learn the results of her mail-in DNA kit.

“I called my Dad and said ‘We’re Irish!’” Jones recalled.

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But Jones, a mother of four, may have inadvertently given away more information than just her family background.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, home DNA tests reveal much more than just your ethnicity. The agency recently issued a warning saying “That tiny [saliva] sample can disclose the biological building blocks that make you, you.”

“Most people don’t think that if they get a genetic test it could ever come back to bite them, but it can,” said Jamie Court of the group Consumer Watchdog.

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He said tests are getting more sophisticated and could soon, if not already, determine if your raw DNA data contains a marker for a serious illness.

“If you apply for life insurance they do have a right to get all your medical records. And if you’ve had a genetic test taken, they do have a right to request it,” Court said.