‘NOVA: Secrets In Our DNA’ Sheds Interesting New Light On Consumer DNA Testing

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Genealogy is big business around the world today.  People everywhere use companies, such as 23and Me, Ancestry, and even Myheritage every year to find their roots.  For all that the tests do to enlighten consumers about their families’ connections and histories, there are still some concerns raised through their use.  That balance of pro and con in what is known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is at the center of another new episode of PBS’ hit science-based series NOVA.  Released Tuesday on DVD, the nearly hour-long examination of DTC genetic testing proves an interesting presentation that is worth watching at least once.  That is again due in part to the noted topic at the episode’s center.  It will be discussed shortly.  The editing that is used to help tell the story adds its own interest to the presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The DVD’s pricing is worth examining, too.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the DVD’s overall content, the whole makes this episode of NOVA worth the purchase and watch.

PBS Distribution’s home release of NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is a presentation that audiences will agree is worth the purchase and watch.  That is due in large part to the episode’s story.  The story in question examines the popularity of what is known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing.  The nearly hour-long feature is an unbiased look at the positives and negatives of the now multi-million (if not billion) dollar industry.  Audiences learn through the program that while DTC genetic testing can and does help people find family that they otherwise might not have known about, it can also lead to some unexpected consequences.  That is evidenced through a variety of interesting stories.  One of the stories that explains the unexpected consequences is a real crime story that opens the program.  It tells how a woman who used DTC testing ended up playing an unexpected role in a decades-old double homicide in Washington State.  The woman was not the murderer, but her DNA profile that she sent to a DTC testing company led police to the killer.  The whole story will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  In another interesting case, viewers learn from another woman that the man she thought was her father was in fact not.  These and other stories featured in the program lead to discussions on the privacy of the DNA kits that people use for what they believe is their personal genealogical research.  As it turns out, the crime story is linked to this matter because as it turns out, much of the results from those tests goes into a database that law enforcement uses to solve cold cases.  Previously it was not known by consumers that this was happening.  The stories also lead to discussions on the efficacy of the tests in being able to determine whether consumers might be at risk for specific genetic concerns, such as cancer and whether companies might be in relation, selling the genetic information to drug companies for the purpose of patenting drugs.  The late, great author Michael Crichton touched on this topic in his 2006 novel Next.  Representatives from various genetic testing companies responded to the concerns, alleging consumers’ information is not being sold, one even stressing (justifiably) that the companies are not forcing consumers to take the tests.  Overall, both sides of the discussion are presented here.  The result of the non-biased presentation will hopefully encourage audiences to do their own additional research into DTC testing and make their own decisions on whether to use them in their own family history research.

The main feature presented in NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is certain to keep viewers engaged from beginning to end what with its news story type presentation that delves into the business of DTC genetic testing.  It is just one part of what makes the episode worth watching.  The editing that went into the episode plays its own part in the presentation, too.  That is exemplified through the way in which the interviews and visuals were incorporated throughout the program.  Their placement helps to keep viewers engaged throughout.  The coordination between the narration and footage is its own tribute to the editing.  It all makes the program’s pacing steady and solid from start to end.  That fluid pacing works with the story itself to further engage and entertain viewers.  Keeping that in mind, the general presentation ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment.

Considering the unbiased story featured in NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA and its editing, the program proves unquestionably that it is worth watching at least once.  These elements are just a pair of items that make the program as appealing as it is.  The DVD’s pricing adds at least slightly more appeal to the program’s home presentation.  The program’s average price point is $22.01.  That price was reached by averaging prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS.  It was not listed through Target and Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS have the most expensive listing at $24.99 each while Amazon and Best Buy each list the DVD at $17.99, the least expensive of the listings.  Meanwhile, Walmart’s third party seller, DeepDiscount lists the DVD at $24.09, again, well above the average price point.  Yes, only two of the major listed retailers have prices for the DVD.  However, that is two more than could otherwise have listed.  What’s more, the Walmart listing is, again, through a third party seller, not the retailer itself.  Keeping that in mind and that Walmart typically lists PBS’ product among the least expensive retail prices, the pricing even at this point should not be viewed too harshly.  All things considered, those noted inexpensive listings will not break viewers’ budgets, even with shipping and handling in mind.  Keeping this in mind along with the DVD’s content and editing, the whole makes this episode of NOVA worth watching at least once.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s home presentation of NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is an interesting work that deserves at least some attention.  That is due in part to the story at the episode’s center.  Presented in the style of a broadcast news piece, the story shows in unbiased fashion, the pros and cons of direct-to-consumer genetic testing.  Viewers will find themselves interested in the “secrets” that testing can reveal, both good and bad.  Additionally, they will be interested in the discussion on privacy concerns raised in connection to the business’ popularity.  The editing that went into the program does its own share to keep viewers engaged, and together with the story, ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  The program’s price in its DVD presentation rounds out its most important element.  While the average price point exceeds the $20 mark, two of its listings are well below that mark, making for at least some appeal.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the program in its DVD presentation.  All things considered, they make the DVD a presentation that proves worth purchasing and watching at least once.  NOVA: Secrets in Our DNA is available now.

More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.