The DNADialogues Network explores the so called ‘genetic revolution’, through a particular focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) DNA testing and its societal ramifications. DTC DNA testing services, provided via a number of online platforms, create new ways in which information about genetic connections can be stored and shared. This network is interested in how ordinary people are involved in both use and are impacted by this rapidly growing technology.
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Contact information

Research group leader

Research group description

DTC DNA testing has expanded access to genetic information, allowing individuals to explore their ancestry and health predispositions, as well as connect with genetic relatives, from home. However, this commodification of DNA can come with significant legal, ethical, psychological challenges for individuals and societies.

The network extends an invitation to multidisciplinary group of researchers and DIYbio (Do-It-Yourself Biology) enthusiasts who are immersed in areas such as:

  • evolving perceptions of kinship
  • regulatory aspects in DTC DNA testing
  • issues involving parents through donor conception and donor conceived people
  • challenges faced by adoptees
  • the dynamics of newly identified biological relations
  • implications for children birthed from gendered and sexual violence
  • matters of fertility fraud
  • the interface of genetic testing and Indigenous governance
  • the interplay of nation-building and genetic ethnicity predictions
  • racialization and concerns about data privacy
  • potential biases, and the commercial aspects of health data
  • other emerging topics

The network operates through a mailing list and hosts online and face-to-face workshops and conferences and acts as a link between researchers who are emerged in these topics.

The network has been started by two projects focusing on commercial DNA testing based in the UK and Finland. The ConnecteDNA project, led by Dr. Lucy Frith who is Reader in Bioethics in the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, The University of Manchester, and the Spitting Image project, led by Dr. Joa Hiitola who is an Associate Professor in Social Policy and Director of Gender Studies at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Our members include:

Stine W. Adrian, UiT - The Artic University of Norway

Dorcas Ofosu-Budu, University of Eastern Finland

Kriss Fearon, De Montfort University

Lucy Frith, The University of Manchester

Leah Gilman, University of Sheffield

Joa Hiitola, University of Oulu

Cathy Herbrand, De Montfort University

Riikka Homanen, Tampere Unversity

Seija Jalagin, University of Oulu

Catherine Jones, King's College London

Debbie Kennett, University College London

Kate Lyle, University of Oxford

Anaïs Martin, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Laura Menard, University of Oulu

Sanna Mustasaari, University of Eastern Finland

Giselle Newton, University of Queensland, Australia

Venla Oikkonen, Tampere University

Caroline Redhead, The University of Manchester

Gabrielle Samuel, King's Collage London

Maria Siermann, KU Leuven

Anna Rönkä, University of Oulu

Ayo Wahlberg, University of Copenhagen

Sophie Zadeh, University College London

Sabrina Zeghiche, Université du Québec en Outaouais


Please email joa.hiitola@oulu.fi to join the network.