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A consumer watchdog group is warning that increasingly popular ancestry testing kits that claim to identify one’s genetic heritage could eventually affect one’s ability to obtain life insurance, according to a CBS report Tuesday.
The tests, which can determine heritage, feature containers to collect saliva to mail to a lab.
One test option is to discover more about diseases one might be susceptible to, according to Jamie Court, president of the group Consumer Watchdog, who told reporters that this seemingly harmless inquiry could have life-insurance ramifications.
“Most people don’t think that if they get a genetic test it could ever come back to bite them, but it can,” Mr. Court told a reporter. “The real danger is that you may find out you have a marker for a real serious illness.”
“If you apply for life insurance, they do have a right to get all your medical records,” Mr. Court said. “And if you’ve had a genetic test taken, they do have the right to request it.”
Current law protects against genetic discrimination, but Mr. Court believes that if the laws ever change and one has a disease-causing gene, “it could mean you don’t get insurance,” he told a reporter.
Nineteenth-century Danish scientist Hans Christian Orsted had usually shunned business matters, which is why his family is upset that Denmark’s fourth-largest company chose to use his name on its letterhead, Reuters reported Friday.