The Baltimore Ravens will give DNA test kits to the tens of thousands of fans entering M&T Bank Stadium for the team’s home opener against the
Per the Baltimore Sun, it also contains an element of public-relations risk: The value of direct-to-consumer genetic testing is the subject of scientific debate.
“It can be very useful but in many other cases we just don’t know enough,” said Alan Shuldiner, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “I think it can be very deceptive. I sometimes call it ‘snake oil genomics.’ ”
Fans who choose to participate can learn about their genetic makeup, Orig3n, the Boston-based biotech firm sponsoring the event, told the Sun.
The procedure begins when fans swab the inside of their cheek, drop the sample into a stadium bin and register with the company online.
The assessment offers “insight into your mind, body and health,” a company spokeswoman said.
Promotional material prepared for the event bears the logos of the company and the Ravens. It depicts a DNA strand with the message: “Purple and Black are in your genes — now find out what else is.”
Orig3n is offering — for free — a test of four genes. These include the ACTN3 gene, which the firm says can yield information on whether a person “is likely to have enhanced performance in power and sprint activities or is considered normal.”
The Ravens are calling it “one of the most innovative events a partner has ever spearheaded.”
Also being tested is a gene the company says can help predict an increased risk of low levels of Vitamin D. From the test, fans can learn if they are “generally predisposed” to have difficulty metabolizing Vitamin D well, said Kate Blanchard, Orig3n’s chief operating officer and founder.
The company offers more extensive tests for up to $149.