Ravens Postpone Orig3n DNA Day

Courtney Cameron Headshot

Hours before the Baltimore Ravens’ home game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the team called off a game-day promotion titled “Orig3n DNA Day.”

In partnership with the consumer genetic testing company Orig3n, the team had planned to distribute free DNA test kits to approximately 55,000 fans entering M&T Bank Stadium.

Recipients would then be able to complete a cheek swab and deposit the genetic material in boxes set up around the stadium to be analyzed for four different genes, including one claiming to assess athletic ability.

Promotional material for the event read, “Purple and black are in your genes. Now find out what else is.”

The event was red-lighted after the team received an inquiry from the federal government expressing concerns about Orig3n’s lab certifications.

Maryland’s Department of Health was asked to defer the event after it was discovered that the company’s test processing labs have not obtained a certificate validating that the facilities meet regulations laid down by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988.

In addition to questions over whether or not the company needs such a certification, concerns have been voiced over the claim that DNA testing can produce viable information about genetic predispositions to qualities such as athletic ability, as well as concerns over Orig3n’s privacy policy.

According to Gizmodo, the privacy policy outlined in the terms and conditions distributed to fans included a clause allowing genetic information from the tests to be “shared anonymously with third parties at the company’s discretion.”

Consumer protection litigator Joel Winston told Gizmodo, “If you show up at a game, you can bet Orig3n isn’t passing out its terms of service alongside cheek swabs. There’s not a concern for what this company is doing beyond passing out tests.”

Despite these concerns, the team has expressed an intent to reschedule Orig3n DNA Day for a later date.

In a statement to ESPN, the company said, "Since 2014, we have been helping people understand the links between their genes and how their minds and bodies work through our DNA tests and community events. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Ravens."

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