23 and We: Stories of Race in Genetic Ancestry Testing Advertisements


As genetic ancestry testing (GAT) companies market themselves, they face many decisions in terms of what they highlight to potential customers: Do they offer the chance to connect with extended family members, to trace one’s ancestry, or learn about long-buried connections to different cultures?

This study analyzes advertisements from three Anglophone GAT companies: The data suggests that the marketing grossly over-represent white subjects, especially with regard to elements of family and ethnic/cultural identity. GAT advertisements appear to market a white-centric notion of genetic interconnectivity that promotes identity cherry-picking and conflates genetic data with identity and social, cultural, and familial kinship.