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Company selling personal DNA for drug research

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 22:22:34-04

FORT MYERS, Fla., -- While you send in your DNA to find out about your personal history, 23andMe is now selling it for drug research. 

“My whole life I thought I was Austrian and German, turns out I’m Scandinavian," said Valerie Yaggi who has used an ancestry DNA company in the past. 

But now those like Yaggi could find their DNA is being used for more than finding personal history. 23andMe is partnering with drug giant GlaxoSmithKline in a $300 million dollar merger. 

The company gave this statement to Fox 4 on their reasoning for the partnership: 

“The companies will work together to better understand key genetic effects on disease risk, severity, and progression, and to leverage that information to inform and enhance the discovery and development of the next generation of medicines and possible cures.” 

However, Yaggi says she still doesn't trust it. 

“It’s like Facebook you don’t know exactly what’s going to eventually happen," said Yaggi. "I don’t think that’s right. I think it’s a question of privacy.” 

But for Jay Kollar, he says he understand the privacy concerns, but would gladly give his DNA as long as the company remains honest about where it's going. 

“If it serves society or important diseases, I’ll help the cause," said Kollar. "But there’s got to be transparency there.” 

A 23andMe spokesperson says each customer has the ability to decide whether or not they would "like to have [their] sample stored or biobanked at the lab after analysis." The company says a message is sent to all customers where they are able to instruct the lab to discard their DNA.