CyberGenetics: New book by Anna Harris, Sally Wyatt et al

MUSTS researchers, Anna Harris and Sally Wyatt, together with Susan Kelly from Egenis, University of Exeter, have co-authored the new book ‘CyberGenetics: Health Genetics and New Media. Published by Routledge, the book critically examines the emergence of the market for selling genetic tests directly to consumers/patients via the Internet. It includes two poems by AMC colleague, Caoilinn Hughes.

Online genetic testing services are increasingly being offered to consumers who are becoming exposed to, and knowledgeable about, new kinds of genetic technologies, as the launch of a 23andMe genetic testing product in the UK testifies. Genetic research breakthroughs, cheek swabbing forensic pathologists and celebrities discovering their ancestral roots are littered throughout the North American, European and Australasian media landscapes. Genetic testing is now capturing the attention, and imagination, of hundreds of thousands of people who can not only buy genetic tests online, but can also go online to find relatives, share their results with strangers, sign up for personal DNA-based musical scores, and take part in research. This book critically examines this market of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing from a social science perspective, asking, what happens when genetics goes online?

Review:
The merger of information technology and genetics into ‘cybergenetics’ is an important development in health science. This book offers crucial critical insights into revamped versions of genetic determinism, the role of online platforms and companies in medical research, and questions of trust with regards to the digital technologies that increasingly organize our health care. Harris, Kelly and Wyatt provide a much needed guide to the cybergenetics future. – José van Dijck, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and President of the KNAW

More information and reviews can be found on the Routledge website.

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