DNA test: Airbnb develops genealogical trips
People who carry out DNA tests to find out about their origins from 23andMe will be offered Airbnb accommodations in the countries of their ancestors. This method raises questions of protection of genetic data.
A journey in the footsteps of your ancestors.
This is what a new partnership between the Airbnb hosting service and the 23andMe DNA testing company is offering its customers. A statement Airbnb site dated May 21, 2019 announcement indeed offer the possibility of a "heritage trip" in accordance with the genealogy of its customers.
Combining genetics and tourism
In concrete terms, 23andMe's analysis compares the DNA profile of its clients with the DNA profiles of different human populations around the globe. The results then come in the form of percentages of geographical origins. According to Airbnb, it is the desire to "better know its origins" that pushes the majority of its customers to perform such a test. A curiosity to which the site wishes to bring a dimension tourist: "On 23andMe, as soon as a customer receives his reports of descent, he can have access to his ancestral origins and can find accommodation and experiences Airbnb in his country of origin "details the statement. "For example, if a customer of 23andMe has ancestors in the south of Italy, he can find a trullo in Puglia as basic accommodation to explore his heritage" continues the service.
Tests carried out under a foreign law
In France, the free sale of these self-tests is prohibited by the law of bioethics. But several websites offer you, for a hundred dollars US, to send you a self test kit: you then do a simple saliva collection at home and return it for an analysis across the Atlantic.
But beware: by accepting such an operation, you also accept US legal conditions. And this is not without risk, as explained in September 2018 Master Brigitte Bogucki, lawyer and guest of the Health Magazine: "When we order a DNA test abroad, even more on the Internet, most often we do not read the general conditions of the contract that we spend with the company to which the test is ordered, or we do not understand them because written in a foreign language.Who says foreigner says foreign law so no limits French law and this is where the rub, most of the time these contracts provide that the company in question will freely do what it wants your DNA research and even the levy itself ... "
Resale of DNA data
First problem, your DNA does not inform that on your own person: "A result DNA relates to you but also gives information on the members of your family, even more precise that the family link is close" even as your parents brothers and sisters or children have not authorized the disclosure of such information, says Bogucki. Last, a striking example: in May 2018, the American police revealed to have solved two criminal cases thanks to the DNA data available on genealogy sites. A method that raises the question of "what control people have over the information they give to public or commercial databases," the scientific journal Nature wrote in an editorial on May 2, 2018. "People who choose to downloading their DNA could unknowingly help the police find a family member, now and in the future, "concluded the publication.
In addition, "the value of such a file is considerable and that explains that the tests are so inexpensive" says the lawyer. Indeed, DNA test results also contain information about the client's health. That's why "this file could be sold, to insurance companies for example, which in view of your brother's DNA will require an additional risk premium or refuse to insure you, but it can go much further" s 'worries me Bogucki, which evokes risks' of eugenics or commercial drift.