Besides learning fun facts about one's DNA and ancestry, there's a lot of good that can come out of using one. For example: people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent can learn if they're predisposed to BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and thus at a higher risk for breast or ovarian cancer.

But it's a step further than Dor Yesharim or NYU testing, since those just primarily report if one's a carrier for a disease and don't analyze one's family genetics.

Was wondering if there could be any Halachik issues with using a service like 23 And Me? Potential issues could be:

  • Main problem I thought of: if someone were to find out they're actually a mamzer. This is definitely not something we'd want someone to know since we try to be very lenient with safeik mamzer.
  • finding out one is adopted (parents never told them) and could be a problem of bitul of kibbud av v'em (either they never wanted that person to know, or said person may not have been properly doing bitul of kibbud av v'em)
  • If a child finds out they're adopted perhaps there could now be a concern of yichud with a parent of the opposite gender.

Perhaps we could suggest to follow rov- namely that majority of people won't find this out- or that the good outweighs the potential bad.

To sum up:

1) can anyone think of additional problems that could arise from using a DNA kit?

2) reason(s) why we may be allowed to use them?

  • 1
    Is there a problem of Yichud when the child is adopted?
    – ezra
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:49
  • 3
    As DNA cannot be used to determine whether someone is Jewish or not, it cannot be used to disprove someone being Jewish. I'd think it would be the same way for mamzerut; you can't prove it with DNA because we don't use DNA in halacha. See: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9938/…
    – ezra
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:50
  • @ezra I think some raise the question, not sure if that's how we pasken- see: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/84150/…
    – alicht
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:52
  • @ezra actually that link lists multiple opinions on the matter
    – Double AA
    Jan 11, 2019 at 19:13
  • 2
    Yichud applys whether the child care is aware or not, except possibly in the far-fetched case where the adults are also not aware (baby swap for a plausible but unlikely mechanism)
    – user15253
    Jul 11, 2019 at 20:34


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