Canada Dashboard Digest

Familial DNA Testing Moral and Legal Questions Abound


May 27, 2011

While familial DNA testing is used in three U.S. states and the UK, Canadian officials have been reluctant to embrace the practice due in part to privacy concerns. Is it fair, a Vancouver Sun report asks, to make "unwitting genetic informants" of relatives, and with studies showing that "crime seems to run in families," does this genetic link cast a "cloud of suspicion" over them? Some say if parliament allows familial testing, it should only be for the most serious crimes and when all other options have been exhausted, while the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has said it would not support it. A Department of Justice spokeswoman this week said it is consulting with provinces, police and others "to develop a consensus on how best to proceed."
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