Unless you have an identical twin, your DNA sequencing is completely unique. However, despite this uniqueness, your genetic privacy may still be at risk.


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(Photo by Ethan Miller and Chris Kleponis/Getty Images)

In response to repeated racial slurs by President Donald Trump on Twitter and in his rallies and public appearances, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren took a DNA test to prove her claim of an unnamed, unidentified Native American ancestor in her mother's family line.

On Monday, Warren shared her DNA results and her family story asking Trump to pay the $1 million dollars he said he would donate to charity if she took a DNA test and proved there was a Native American ancestor in her matrilineal genealogy.

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National Archives

In a July rally in Montana, President Donald Trump challenged Senator Elizabeth Warren to take a DNA test to prove she had a Native American ancestor. Warren stated several times that her mother told her there was an unnamed, unidentified Native ancestor in their family.

Warren made no claim of formal tribal or cultural affiliation except to say her mother thought perhaps the ancestor was Cherokee, but—like many in the United States and Canada—she embraced the family lore of an unidentified Native in the family tree. Seizing on any opportunity to mock or discredit his critics, Trump dubbed Warren Pocahontas and repeatedly mocked her claim.

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SNRE Lab: Molecular DNA.

It is difficult to find someone who has not heard of “Ancestry.com” or “23andme" that offer to sequence parts of a person’s genome. These services offer to search your genetic profile for information about your family’s ethnic origins or the presence of certain factors that will increase your probability of being susceptible to certain diseases in your lifetime. It is doubtful that people who have purchased these products would have considered that their depositions of DNA in these databases has helped to capture criminals responsible for cold case murders dating back decades, but this is precisely what has recently occurred.

To fully comprehend the significance of these recent developments in crime fighting and their inherent privacy concerns, one has to be familiar with the meaning behind certain terms like: genome, genetic material, genealogy, and DNA. DNA is the abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the molecule inside of everyone that encodes the genetic information unique to each individual. A person’s genome is the term ascribed to all the genetic information that is found inside of each of their cells.

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