About one in 20 (five per cent) of Britons, equivalent to around 2.5 million people, told researchers they had used a DNA test kit, with a further eight per cent, saying they planned to do so in the future.
Three quarters of those who used the kit did so to learn about their ancestry and family history. A further eight per cent did so to find out about potential diseases they could suffer.
A further 11 per cent underwent DNA paternity tests.
DNA testing companies have refused to reveal the genetic information of customers although there have been rare cases where police have used open-source databases to narrow a list of suspects.
Police can only retain indefinitely the DNA of people convicted of a range of 400 offences from murder to burglary and can hold for a limited period the DNA of people charged or arrested but not convicted before it has to be deleted.
Almost 5.4 million individuals’ DNA profiles are currently on the national police database which would mean more than 60 million people are not.
Despite privacy controversies over the police’s increasing use of new technologies such as facial recognition cameras, the public appear relaxed about the idea of third parties having access to people’s DNA where it could help solve a crime.
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