Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing has offered millions of people a new way to look at their biogeographical origins. Their DNA yields insights into their “ancestry.” Despite these tests becoming more common, the general public and scientific community often misunderstand genetic ancestry and rarely discuss the broader societal implications of genetic ancestry testing. During this session, we will begin by clarifying genetic ancestry and the methods commonly used to infer it. After that foundation, we will delve into how DNA testing and its associated marketing may impact people’s perceptions and attitudes about race and ethnicity, including their own racial and ethnic identity. We will discuss research that might enable us to better understand the impact of this testing on attitudes towards race and ethnicity. We will close by taking questions from the audience for a panel discussion about the many scientific and ethical issues surrounding the topic.
Senior Director of Research, 23andMe
Professor of Politics, NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi
Associate Professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine & Community Health and Director, Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference and Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, Duke University
Vence L. Bonham
Associate Investigator, Social and Behavioral Research Branch and Senior Advisor to the NHGRI Director on Genomics and Health Disparities, National Human Genome Research Institute