DNA-based holidays encourage a dangerous flirtation with race | Arwa Mahdawi

Airbnb and the genetic testing company 23andMe have teamed up to suggest travel itineraries based on ancestry. It’s another boost for outdated and unscientific ideas

23andMe, the at-home genetic testing company, has teamed up with Airbnb to offer travel itineraries based on your DNA. Give 23andMe some spit and some money, and it will give you an ancestry report in return, along with suggestions of places you can go to explore your heritage. Based on my DNA results, for example, 23andMe suggested I try falconry in the United Arab Emirates or a traditional Irish music pub crawl. Weirdly, despite the fact I’m half-Palestinian, it didn’t suggest I try a relaxing stay in one of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank listed on Airbnb, or a traditional military checkpoint crawl.

This sort of “DNAdvertising” is a growing trend: last year, for example, Spotify partnered with the world’s largest for-profit genealogy company, Ancestry, to build music playlists based on your DNA. But while genetically modified playlists or heritage holidays may seem like nothing more than fun marketing stunts, there’s a more insidious element to them. This sort of DNAdvertising is perhaps inadvertently helping to bring outdated and unscientific ideas about “race” and genetics to the mainstream.

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Read More DNA-based holidays encourage a dangerous flirtation with race | Arwa Mahdawi

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