“DNA testing firms don’t clearly disclose to consumers exactly what they are doing with the DNA once a person’s cheek swab is sent in to the company,” Schumer said.

“People are naturally curious over what their DNA can tell them,” said Michelle De Mooy, director of the privacy and data project at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington, D.C., think tank that studies privacy and governance issues.

But De Mooy said there are problems ahead for the industry, particularly if testing companies don’t adequately protect the security of the genetic databases and ensure that consumers don’t find that their own DNA is giving business or the government a leg up against them.

“If you had a genetic test, and your genetic test showed that you might be predisposed to develop early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and that information was made public, how would your employer feel about that?” said Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a New York-based research group.


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