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



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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
  • 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.

Network coordinator: MSSc Laura Menard, laura.menard@oulu.fi. Please message Laura if you wish to join our mailing list.

Our members include:

Lucy Frith, The University of Manchester

Leah Gilman, University of Sheffield

Joa Hiitola, University of Oulu

Laura Menard, University of Oulu

Caroline Redhead, The University of Manchester

Anna Rönkä, University of Oulu