Government officials shut down The Baltimore Ravens’ DNA Day promotion. The mass DNA collection was originally scheduled for last Sunday’s opener against the Cleveland Brown, but was postponed a few hours before the game.
Now the Maryland Department of Health is like, you guys, this is not happening right now or maybe ever.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
Genetic testing company Orig3n planned to provide free Direct to Consumer (DTC) DNA test kits for their promotional “DNA Day” event, where fans would be given cheek swabs when entering the stadium. The used swabs were supposed to be deposited into receptacle boxes around the stadium.
Fans would later receive the results of their test via app.
According to Orig3n, the kit would test genetic traits, including athletic potential, vitamin D absorption, language ability, muscle force, and sugar-induced aging. Unsurprisingly, the plan to have people dump their genetic info into boxes in a public area raised some privacy concerns.
SELLING MORE THAN YOUR SOUL
Drunk tailgaters and sober family fans alike may not have realized Orig3n could hold the rights to sell information to third parties. Of course, if Orig3n sells the data, personal identifying data must be removed.
But still, they could make money off selling your genetic makeup. That certainly wasn’t part of the ad campaign.
The Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services questioned whether Orig3n’s lab needed a permit stating compliance with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988.
These regulations stipulate that any U.S. facility testing humans for health assessments must meet quality standards and obtain appropriate certificates to legally conduct tests.
SHUT DOWN FOR NOW
While the promotion idea is fascinating, if it really does take place, fans participating should be aware that there are currently no regulations for how DTC companies share, sell, buy, manage, or conduct their research. Plus, without a broader context of personal and medical history, results of these tests aren’t particularly useful for providing health insights.
Maryland’s Department of Health shut down the event based on these concerns, and has indefinitely postponed the event. However, Orgi3n spokesperson Kevin Byrne says the company is “confident it can receive the proper approvals” to move forward with the plan later in the season.