23andMe, one of the most important direct-to-client genetic checking out agencies, needs its customers to use Airbnb to e-book stays across the globe based on their ancestry outcomes, both via its internet site or via places looked after through Airbnb primarily based on 23andMe’s genetic regions. (Customers are unfastened to browse through other tour destinations through the partnership, too.)
Direct-to-consumer genetic services like 23andMe claim to investigate a purchaser’s DNA and offer them a clean image of their ancestry. As of January, more than 26 million people took direct-to-purchaser genetic assessments, with more or less 9 million of them using 23andMe. Although 23andMe also gives a few testing associated with a purchaser’s health and well-being, it’s clear that customers are curious approximately their circle of relatives’ history via their DNA.
The corporation’s partnership with Airbnb, introduced May 22, performs at the recent trend of “heritage journey,” however rather than virtually journeying your excellent-grandparents’ domestic town, this includes going a step (or several thousand steps) similarly and the use of your genetic checking out consequences to pick out tour locations. “We empower 23andMe customers to study themselves and their ancestry via their particular genetic code,” 23andMe’s leader executive officer Anne Wojcicki stated in a declaration.
There’s nothing wrong with studying more approximately the locations important in your own family records. It can be a powerful revel in, mainly if positive family traditions had been exceeded down from every other u. S. A .’s lifestyle. There is, however, trouble with assuming that your genes will let you know all you need to know about your own family’s cultural history.
The technology used to decide ancestral breakdowns primarily based on our genetic ancestry are vague estimates, at first-class. Our genomes—our entire collection of DNA—are huge. They’re additionally ninety-nine.Nine% the same from individual to individual. The zero.01% of our DNA that makes us particular is what direct-to-purchaser genetic testing groups examine. When producing ancestry reviews, they examine many of these versions of a patron’s DNA with those from those who understand their ancestral history, known as reference genomes. Ancestry reports are based totally on the odds genetic versions customers have in not unusual about genomes from different elements of the world.
The amount of DNA 23andMe analyzes to identify a person’s history is the equivalent of skimming the CliffNotes of a primary work of literature. The smooth, neat donut charts 23andMe uses to break down ancestry obfuscates genetics’s complexities and might account for moving geopolitical borders at some point in history.
More worryingly, additionally, they suggest that our genetic make-up determines our identification. White supremacists have touted the idea that we’re rooted in our biology for centuries. In fact, our cultural identities are determined by using the households that raised us and the traditions they handed down. Some of those can be from places that display up in our genetic variations; a few may not be.
In different words, the partnership between 23andMe and Airbnb is most effective the modern-day generation of advertising gimmicks by using direct-to-client genetic trying out businesses to try to link variations in DNA to other alternatives we may additionally want to make. AncestryDNA has partnered with an organization known as Go Ahead Tours that give a genealogists’ angle in growing travel that reflects someone’s ancestry. Last year, it partnered with Spotify to generate playlists with songs that mirror a patron’s ancestors’ cultures. Additionally, 23andMe attempted to inspire American clients to “root for their roots” and cheer for World Cup soccer teams primarily based on their DNA.
So go ahead and book a trip to a miles-flung destination. Just don’t count on locating your remote cousins, or identification, while you get there.
Update: Representatives from 23andMe clarified the employer had made efforts to communicate with customers that identity isn’t always based totally on genetics. This piece has additionally been updated to include information that the partnership between Airbnb and 23andMe does now not restrict clients to looking at destinations based on their ancestry outcomes.