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Can genomics tell me who I am?: Essentialistic rhetoric in direct-to-consumer DNA testing
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Department of Bioethics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.
2009 (English)In: New genetics and society (Print), ISSN 1463-6778, Vol. 28, no 2, 157-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recently, a high number of companies have emerged that offer online direct-to-consumer DNA testing. We investigate these consumer genomics companies through the lens of identity. We find that many of them appeal to a kind of "genetic essentialism". We suggest that this appeal is key to understanding why consumers are attracted to their services. There seem to be three very different currents within contemporary culture at work: the pre-modern search for a naturalistic understanding of identity, the modern enthusiasm for science, and the post-modern emphasis on radical individual self-determination. The support for our hypothesis comes from the companies' websites and the online testimonials of satisfied customers. We discuss the risk of distortion of the subjective experience of identity due to unreliable or uninformative test results, inadequate or misleading explanation, and the fact that the science is still too weak to yield meaningful results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 28, no 2, 157-172 p.
Keyword [en]
consumer genomics; identity; essentialism
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-19314DOI: 10.1080/14636770902901595ISI: 000274755800005OAI: diva2:224266
Available from: 2009-06-17 Created: 2009-06-17 Last updated: 2010-03-05Bibliographically approved

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Nordgren, Anders
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ReferencesLink to record
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