In This Article
In This Article
At-home DNA tests like 23andMe and AncestryDNA 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 to help prevent any potential congenital disorders or chromosomal conditions.
But when you send your DNA sample to testing companies, you might also unknowingly put your DNA data at risk. The things that can potentially happen to your data include the following:
You can keep yourself safe from the dangers of sharing your DNA in many ways.1 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 some of the biggest names in the DNA testing industry, including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, LivingDNA, and so on.
While at-home DNA testing kits offer exciting insights into your health and ancestry, they also pose a risk to your data privacy. When you send your DNA sample to companies, you also share your genetic information.
DNA testing companies likely retain your genetic information. It commonly happens when you’ve used their services and didn’t explicitly request to delete your data.
You should read a company’s privacy policies to find out who has access to your DNA. Without your specific request, some companies will continue storing your sample, making it potentially accessible.
DNA testing companies can sell your genetic data or even share it with law enforcement and third parties, like medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies.
DNA testing companies working with Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified labs are also required to keep records of your DNA, sex, and birth date for quality control.
DNA testing companies can keep your genetic data when you use their services. You can determine who has access to your DNA data by reading a company's privacy policies.
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DNA testing services have security measures and privacy policies to protect their customers. They know how sensitive your data is.
However, despite the precautionary measures to ensure data safety, the steps that DNA companies take may only be partially foolproof.
As long as your raw data file remains on your DNA testing company's database, hackers, law enforcers, insurance companies, and other third parties can access your information.
Below are some examples where genetic information was compromised:
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.
Some companies have the option to download your raw DNA before deleting your information from their database.
You should delete your DNA data from a company's database to lessen the risk of data breaches. As long as your information remains with them, it's susceptible to hackers. Other third parties like law enforcers and insurance companies can also gain access to your data.
23andMe allows you to delete your account and most of your data. However, there are some things you need to know about the privacy of your DNA with 23andMe:
To delete your raw DNA, login into 23andMe:
Click the Settings tab and scroll down to the very bottom. You’ll then find the option to delete your data.
If you click the view link, you can see the option to delete your data permanently.
23andMe will delete your DNA data permanently after 30 days.
You can also request to discard your saliva sample and delete your 23andMe account. Visit the Customer Care page and navigate to Accounts and Registration.
You’ll see the options in a bulleted list. Select Requesting Account Closure. Then you can ask 23andMe to destroy your saliva sample.
Ancestry allows you to delete your DNA data and your account. Here’s how the company protects your privacy:
To delete your account, log into your account and navigate to this page. This will bring you to the following screen:
Follow the steps to delete your Ancestry data. But if you want to destroy your spit sample, you must call Member Services.
You need to ask LivingDNA to delete your data and account. Their process, however, lacks transparency, which may not be a good sign for DNA security.
But they can get rid of it sooner if you request to close your account or destroy your sample. However, LivingDNA doesn’t let you manually delete your data — they handle the process themselves.
If you wish to have your DNA data deleted from their database, LivingDNA will ask you to fill out a form:
You can ask MyHeritage to discard your DNA sample by emailing them at email@example.com. The following steps will help you delete your DNA data.
First, go to the DNA tab on the top menu bar and select Manage DNA Kits.
Click the three vertical dots on the kit you want to be deleted. Select Delete your data:
According to GPS Origins, they destroy your sample after they extract your DNA data. Contact GPS Origins to delete your DNA data from their database.
Additionally, upon reaching out to HomeDNA for data deletion, we were informed that their IT team would have to process the DNA deletion.
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