There are a number of companies, that for a fee, will provide your genetic information. Thus, you will be able to find out where your antecedents came from in the beguiling guise of a racial profile. All harmless stuff you say. All you have to do is scrape a few cells from your cheek, spit into a tube, send it on to the lab and for less than $US 70 you can have your genome sequenced. The data generated contains much more than the indelible imprint of your ancestry, as it unlocks your particular and peculiar genetic makeup, in totality. But all that raw data requires interpretation and this is where the problem lies. So much data and so little industry regulation. Mayhap your raw data could be sold on to a third agency for nefarious purposes. In such an instance your ability to obtain health insurance may be compromised; maybe government agencies could gain access to your genetic makeup for reasons known only to them, and god(s). I suspect that if you deal with a well established and accredited laboratory the chances that your genetic data would be passed on for financial gain is unlikely. That said, the number of companies offering genetic profiling has burgeoned of late and their services can be described as comprehensive and utterly useless. These companies will ‘interpret’ your raw data in ways incompatible with reality. Thus, you can be ‘tested’ for a whole range of ludicrous traits. One company will boldly provide information concerning your personality and cognitive ability: they will be able to state whether you are depressed, lonely, introverted, intelligent and uncover your insipient allergies. One particular company (Soccer Genomics) will examine a child’s DNA and then design a sports training regimen designed to turn the child into a professional football player (c'mon the baggies).
As always, prudent folk should exercise and engage their intellect before partaking of any genomic service. They should research pertinent questions concerning our current comprehension of the fundamental genetics underpinning complex traits. The data we obtain from spittle in a jar is formidable and voluminous and herein lies the crucial problem and limitation: as always the devil is in the detail. We are unable, even with stupendously powerful computer programs, to extract meaningful information concerning basic human behaviour. Mayhap this will change, and sometime in the near (or distant) future, we will acquire the necessary scientific wisdom, and tools, to unlock the indubitable mysteries of our nature. But until then I counsel extreme scepticism and caution.
If you crave ‘genetic knowledge’ then I suggest you send me $US 100 and your pinky toe, and as a professional geneticist I will then cast the runes, or bones depending on my medication cycle and whether or not I have imbibed copious amounts of brown ale (hic). Thereafter, I will ponder deeply and delve into my vast reserves of intellectual rigour and provide answers to your earnestly sought questions pertaining to your innermost and darkest personality lineaments………… . wibble, fanny, arse bollocks.