Concerns about DNA testing for genealogy
Our similar sounding surnames (Coon, Koones, Koons, Koontz, Coonts, etc.) have been mispelled so many times through the years by well-meaning recorders that it's difficult if not impossible to know by surname spelling who a person is.My GGGGrandfather's name was spelled Cone, Coon, Koontz, in the same county in just a twenty year span.
Here's some new information about DNA testing that may help some people:
Regarding genealogical DNA testing, here's a little more information to help calm fears about insurance companies using DNA information against us:
May 21, 2008
"President George W. Bush signed into law today the the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). GINA - the first and only federal legislation that will provide protections against discrimination based on an individual's genetic information in health insurance coverage and employment settings.
"Today marks the beginning of a new era in health care," said Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY). "Americans can finally take advantage of the tremendous potential of genetic research without the fear that their own genetic information will be used against them."
Just a few weeks ago, GINA received overwhelming support in both the Senate, with a unanimous vote of approval, and the House of Representatives, where the legislation was passed by a landslide vote of 414-1.
The health insurance protections offered by GINA are expected to roll out 12 months after the bill is signed, whereas the employment protections will be fully realized in 18 months.
Specifically, the legislation protects against genetic discrimination by health insurers or employers by:
Prohibiting group health plans and issuers offering coverage on the group or individual market from basing eligibility determinations or adjusting premiums or contributions on the basis of genetic information. They cannot request, require or purchase the results of genetic tests, or disclose genetic information.
Prohibiting issuers of Medigap policies from adjusting pricing or conditioning eligibility on the basis of genetic information. They cannot request, require or purchase the results of genetic tests, or disclose genetic information.
Prohibiting employers from firing, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Employers may not request, require or purchase genetic information, and may not disclose genetic information. Similar provisions apply to employment agencies and labor organizations."
Everyone of us loses millions of skin cells every day, sheds hair (or get it cut), clip our nails, lick envelopes, and otherwise leave our DNA all over the landscape. We've been doing it all of our lives. If insurance companies wanted your DNA, they would have had it long ago.
Further, your name does not need to be associated with the test results in any way, if that's the way you want it done. You can collect the sample and then use only the surname to identify the sample. (FTDNA would like to keep the surname associated with the sample for research, but other information such as first and middle name, etc., can be left blank.)
The Coon/Coons/Coombs/Koontz, etc., etc., DNA research group is at FamilyTreeDNA.com There are 59 members and 30 have found a connection with another member. www.familytreedna.com/public/Coon