Home genetics tests purport to tell you what percentage of your ancestry comes from which places, an incoherent, unscientific fraud that perpetuates ridiculous eugenic myths. But that's not all: when you take one of these tests, you nonconsensually opt your family into perpetual, global genetic surveillance (and it's not like they can opt out afterwards by changing their DNA).
Lucky for the human race, these companies have run out of suckers. 23andme is laying off 100 people, and business has fallen off a cliff industry wide.
It's not clear why consumers stopped buying tests in droves. It could be that the market is tapped out, and there aren't many people left curious to learn what percent French or Nigerian they are, or whether they are at risk for going bald.
Others may have concerns about their DNA data staying private, since police have started accessing smaller ancestry databases to carry out genetic manhunts.
Ancestry, which maintains the largest database with more than 16 million people, did not answer questions about whether it had seen a sales slowdown. Last year, Ancestry introduced new health offerings in what some analysts saw as a bid spark a "re-testing" market, or coaxing consumers to pay for an additional test.
Is the consumer genetics fad over? [MIT Tech Review]