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How safe and secure are our DNA test results?

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  • How safe and secure are our DNA test results?

    Can anyone other than Family tree DNA access our results? If so why?

  • #2
    No, although you could just double-check their FAQ if that is worrying you. The more important question I have, though, is what is it that you think you are trying to protect? I mean at worst someone might be able to use your raw data to determine some, possible, health proclivities you MIGHT have, but those are just statistical possibilities and many of those are still being tested and worked out and not definitive. Not to mention no health insurance company could use that information against you anyway and I'm not really sure how anyone else could use it against you, either.

    It definitely is not the kind of information that could be used to, say, steal your identity. There's probably more information in your trash can that could be used against you for that than what anyone could find from your FTDNA results. So I'm having a hard time figuring out just what the concern is there anyway. Am I missing something?

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    • #3
      NO health information is available from yDNA or mtDNA testing, nor from Family Finder. The only possible health information could come from mtFGS. If you don't have that test done, then there's absolutely nothing to worry about. If you do have it done, FTDNA is quite serious about protecting your results.

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      • #4
        Your project administrator can access your results, and this is usually to check your yDNa or mtDNA results, SNP results and any advanced markers results to better place you in the project.
        Also to see if any particular surnames or regional areas of interest are showing as matching.
        I think you do have an option about what results are accessable to each project, so you can choose to only show yDNA results to a yDNA project and not mtDNA etc...
        Last edited by rivergirl; 4th October 2010, 06:27 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rivergirl View Post
          I think you do have an option about what results are accessable to each project, so you can choose to only show yDNA results to a yDNA project and not mtDNA etc...
          Because of potential health-related information, the default setting is mtDNA is not visible to your project administrator. You need to change that yourself if you want to make it visible.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gtc View Post
            Because of potential health-related information, the default setting is mtDNA is not visible to your project administrator. You need to change that yourself if you want to make it visible.
            The mtDNA default set to "results not visible to administrator" is only in the case of FGS results. Since there are no medical implications for HVR1 and HVR2 (non-coding region) mutations, the default setting for that is to allow the administrator access to project members' results.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
              The mtDNA default set to "results not visible to administrator" is only in the case of FGS results.
              Yep, FGS mtDNA is what I meant to type. Thanks for the correction.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by vinnie View Post
                NO health information is available from yDNA or mtDNA testing, nor from Family Finder.
                That's not strictly true. While FTDNA has made an effort to select markers that did not, at the time, have studies showing health results you can always run your Family Finder results through something like Promethease to compare your SNPs with findings posted to SNPedia and, sure enough, you will find there are now some studies out there suggesting some health indicators in the areas FTDNA tests. So they really are there, but I still don't think they should be of much concern to anyone.

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                • #9
                  It's safe.
                  I would love to look at the DNA results of one family member.
                  But I can't.
                  Wonder why they hide the results?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by darroll View Post
                    It's safe.
                    I would love to look at the DNA results of one family member.
                    But I can't.
                    Wonder why they hide the results?
                    Maybe they are just the secretive type?
                    Last edited by smith1; 5th October 2010, 03:29 AM.

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                    • #11
                      There seems to be a lot fear over nothing. 23andME especially makes a big deal about privacy protection because their tests contain health information. Really? I'd say more heart attacks occur after getting bill for the DNA testing then from the DNA itself.

                      What can anyone do with the health data anyway? Nothing really unless they are doctors compiling data for medical studies. My opinion is that worry and stress cause more health problems then other things do. Laws prevent insurance companies from using DNA to disqualify coverage (unless they changed them in the latest health care bill) as well.

                      Some might worry their tests will be used by the police. These FF and RF (and yDNA and mtDNA) tests can't be used by the police to identify all you "criminals" out there testing your DNA. Sorry but they can't.

                      Law enforcement uses STR markers for identification purposes. They are stored in a database system called CODIS which stands for the CObined Dna Index Sytem. There are many databases and differing indexes depending on local, state and federal jurisdictions. Usually there is a forensic index, an offender index, sometimes an arrestee index and a few other indices, depending on the state, city or federal laws. None of the tests from FTDNA or 23andMe are capable of being loaded into a CODIS index (and law prevents such a thing even if they could be). You can't, for example, load DNA results into an offender index if the person is not an offender (behind bars). True the results from DNA Findings or any paternity or maternity or siblingship test can be compared to CODIS but they have to be loaded into an offender or arrestee index first that just is not happening.

                      What's happened is someone found a market in selling a test that will tell you you have a higher probability of some health issue and then created this perception it needs to stay private... Well I just looked at my test and now that's funny - I have a low risk for Schizophrenia - that can't be true. They need to talk to the people I hang around with. Really! I mean it - they are right..... right there....
                      Last edited by mkdexter; 5th October 2010, 05:03 AM.

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                      • #12
                        23andme says I'm likely to be taller than average. I'm short and both of my parents are short.
                        I know that there were Great Uncles who were very tall (6'7").

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                        • #13
                          The best test for this (medical) is your yearly blood test your doctor gives you.
                          This test can tell if your uncle was ugly.
                          I'm sure the insurance companies see this data.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by darroll View Post
                            It's safe.
                            I would love to look at the DNA results of one family member.
                            But I can't.
                            Wonder why they hide the results?
                            It's an uneasiness borne out of unfamiliarity and ignorance. Fear of the unknown.

                            Quite simply, there is no such thing as privacy in today's world... especially the internet where conversations that took place a decade ago still exist on servers and are searchable by google/yahoo and the like. With all of the fear surrounding one's privacy, it makes me wonder why people even bother purchasing any DNA testing at all? You're much more at risk in being harmed by simply purchasing a DNA test over giving out your raw data resulting from such test.

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                            • #15
                              We have to draw the line.
                              No-one gets my FF raw data.
                              Either you match or you don't.
                              Share it with another site or person?, no way.
                              No, you can't have my kit number either.

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