Human Genetics

, Volume 131, Issue 1, pp 41–56

Attitudes on DNA ancestry tests

Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00439-011-1034-5

Cite this article as:
Wagner, J.K. & Weiss, K.M. Hum Genet (2012) 131: 41. doi:10.1007/s00439-011-1034-5


The DNA ancestry testing industry is more than a decade old, yet details about it remain a mystery: there remain no reliable, empirical data on the number, motivations, and attitudes of customers to date, the number of products available and their characteristics, or the industry customs and standard practices that have emerged in the absence of specific governmental regulations. Here, we provide preliminary data collected in 2009 through indirect and direct participant observation, namely blog post analysis, generalized survey analysis, and targeted survey analysis. The attitudes include the first available data on attitudes of those of individuals who have and have not had their own DNA ancestry tested as well as individuals who are members of DNA ancestry-related social networking groups. In a new and fluid landscape, the results highlight the need for empirical data to guide policy discussions and should be interpreted collectively as an invitation for additional investigation of (1) the opinions of individuals purchasing these tests, individuals obtaining these tests through research participation, and individuals not obtaining these tests; (2) the psychosocial and behavioral reactions of individuals obtaining their DNA ancestry information with attention given both to expectations prior to testing and the sociotechnical architecture of the test used; and (3) the applications of DNA ancestry information in varying contexts.

Supplementary material

439_2011_1034_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (259 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 258 kb)
439_2011_1034_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (275 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 275 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Genome Sciences & PolicyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA