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Video: Testing your DNA

The development of cost-effective DNA sequencing technology, combined with public interest in DNA, has led to huge growth in the market for DNA tests, bought and delivered online. These tests are marketed in different ways: some focus on people's fear of disease, others play on the desire to know the future and yet others offer information about history of your DNA in the belief that it will tell you something fundamental about yourself.

How might this type of DNA testing inform human identity?

At the beginning of 2009, as part of Routes (an eight-week game from Channel 4 Education in association with the Wellcome Trust), comedian Katherine Ryan embarked on quest to find out the secrets hidden in her genes. Is there such a thing as a fat gene? How much do genes affect personality? And how will the results of Katherine's tests impact her day-to-day life?

Below is a selection of videos produced charting Katherine's journey. They provide a funny yet thought-provoking look at the world of genetic testing. All eight videos are available from the Routes website.


  • Spit


    Find out about the process of DNA testing and what the results might reveal about you.

  • Stupid


    Katherine is told her genetic heritage and geographical ancestry. She also finds out about the 'intelligence' gene and considers how personality and disease might relate to DNA.

  • Future


    How might genetic information be used in the future? Katherine and her friends consider what might happen in years to come, including compulsory testing and the possibility of being excluded because of your genes.

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