UC-Berkeley asks incoming students to provide DNA samples

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

A request for voluntary DNA samples from incoming UC Berkeley students has sparked quick criticism from privacy and genetic-science groups and even some corners of campus.

The university plans to send cotton swabs to about 5,500 incoming freshmen and transfer students, asking them to take cells from the insides of their cheeks and return the kits to the campus over the summer. A company — the school is soliciting bids — will analyze the DNA and send the anonymous results to university researchers.

Since announcing the plan this month, stunned Berkeley academics have been inundated with questions and criticism. Although some of the critics are misinformed about the experiment, others are raising important issues about privacy and ethics, said Mark Schlissel, the university’s biology dean and project’s proposer, along with biology professor Jasper Rine.

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