I thought this was a good DNA Saturdays topic – In France, it’s illegal for consumers to order a DNA spit kit. Activists are fighting over lifting the ban – https://www.statnews.com/2019/11/14/france-consumer-genetic-testing-ban/?fbclid=IwAR2eCwSWAC55ctlKMF32K5pVA-SvKnyAcxlEc0qOwQjsoZ7S9z01SruhY8s.
Pretty long article so I didn’t include the whole article, but worth the read.
PARIS — From scanning her resume, you’d never guess Nathalie Jovanovic-Floricourt was an expert enabler of criminal activity. For years, she’d fretted over photo quality and page layout for publishing houses. Since 2007, she’s worked in communications for a bank — hardly a bastion of activist law-breakers. She lives in a quiet town an hour’s train ride away from Paris.
Then again, her underworld of choice is more socially acceptable than most: Jovanovic-Floricourt is a self-styled fixer for black-market genetic tests. She’s not a dealer. She doesn’t import spit-in-a-cup kits on anyone else’s behalf. She’s just tried out a bunch of different companies for herself — ordering them to an American package forwarding firm, say, if the manufacturer won’t ship directly to France — and helped others to do the same through talks, salons, books, and blog posts. Often, she says, fellow genealogists come to her with questions about their results.
“In doing these genetic ancestry tests, we’re risking a fine of 3,750 euros” — about $4,140 — “at least in theory,” she said one afternoon in late October. “But nobody has ever actually been fined. For years, I’ve been demanding to be condemned, so I can take the case before the European Court of Justice. France can’t forbid me from knowing my own DNA.”
The French ban on direct-to-consumer genetic testing is part of the country’s bioethics laws, which legislators are supposed to revise every seven years. When those discussions got underway earlier this year, some geneticists expected the National Assembly to relax the rules about commercial DNA analysis. It didn’t. Now, Jovanovic-Floricourt and the other genetics enthusiasts in her education and advocacy group, DNA Pass, are agitating more and more to get some of these tests legalized, contacting lawmakers, chatting up scientists, promising a more vociferous campaign than they’ve waged before.
But as one of the most vocal pro-legalization advocates, Jovanovic-Floricourt may have found her match in geneticist Guillaume Vogt and his bioethicist postdoc Henri-Corto Stoeklé. Theirs is an unusual standoff, in that they’re all motivated by the same ideas. Both sides hope to protect French genomes from exploitation by foreign companies. Both sides believe that French institutions are the best guardians for the job. They just disagree about how, exactly, to realize that vision. As Vogt, a scientist at the National Center for Human Genomics Research, put it, “Don’t change the law!”
Other DNA Saturdays posts: https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/DNA-Saturdays/