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How to Delete Your Data From Every DNA Testing Service
Updated on December 23, 2022
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How to Delete Your Data From Every DNA Testing Service
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Testing your DNA has become convenient nowadays. And it’s all thanks to direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. 

These at-home DNA tests offer easy ways to learn more about yourself and your heritage.

DNA testing also provides insight into possible health risks. It can motivate you to make the right dietary and lifestyle changes, so you can help prevent any potential congenital disorders or chromosomal conditions.

But when you send your DNA sample to testing companies, you also hand them essential information about you.

Here are some things that can potentially happen to your data:

  • Hackers can gain access to DNA databases and leak your information
  • Your DNA data can be sold or shared with third parties like pharmaceutical companies
  • DNA companies can change their privacy policies and put your data at risk

There are many ways you to keep yourself safe from the dangers of sharing your DNA1. One of them is to ask the company to delete your DNA test results from their database. 

We made an ultimate guide to deleting your data from the following companies:

  • 23andMe
  • AncestryDNA
  • LivingDNA
  • MyHeritage
  • GPS Origins
How to Delete Your Data From Every DNA Testing Service 2

Who Has Your Genetic Data?

If you’ve submitted your DNA samples to any testing service and never deleted your information, chances are the companies still have them.

Not only that, but some companies will also continue to store your sample unless you ask them to be destroyed.

DNA testing companies can sell your genetic data or even share it with law enforcement and third parties like medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies.

Testing services that work with Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified labs are also required to keep records of your DNA, sex, and birth date for quality control.

You should read a company’s privacy policies to find out who has access to your DNA.

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Why Delete Your DNA Data?

DNA testing services have security measures and privacy policies to protect their customers. They know how sensitive your data is. So they have taken precautions to ensure its safety. 

However, the steps that DNA companies take are not entirely foolproof. 

Hackers, law enforcers, insurance companies, and other third parties can access your information as long as your raw data file remains on your DNA testing company's database.

Below are some examples where genetic information was compromised:

  • MyHeritage had a data breach that exposed the emails and passwords of 92 million users. The hackers didn’t directly access DNA data, but they were able to find people’s information.
  • Law enforcement used DNA information stored by GEDMatch to track down the Golden State Killer.2
  • FamilyTree DNA gave the FBI access to its database without a subpoena.3
  • The U.S. Congress approved a bill that allows companies to get DNA testing for their employees. Employees must also share this information with their employers.4

If you’re concerned about the security and privacy of your raw DNA, you should ask for your sample to be destroyed and your data to be permanently deleted.

You can download your raw DNA before deleting your information.

How to Delete 23andMe Account & Data

Key Takeaways on DNA Data Deletion

  • AncestryDNA and 23andMe are the most private DNA tests. They have comprehensive privacy policies and allow users to delete their DNA data. 
  • Some genetic testing companies don't clearly show how to delete your DNA data. You may consider this factor in choosing a DNA testing company.
  • Other companies let you download your raw DNA. You can upload this data to other sites and learn more about your DNA.
  • With your consent, DNA testing companies can sell your genetic data to third parties or share them with law enforcement.
  • Your genetic data can be misused. But it shouldn’t stop you from sharing your genetic data with a reliable company. 

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Updated on December 23, 2022
Cristine Santander
Cristine Santander
Content Contributor
Cristine Santander is a content writer for KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Psychology and enjoys writing about health and wellness.
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