Genetic watchdog groups want UC Berkeley to suspend plans to ask incoming freshmen and transfer students to supply a DNA sample to participate in what is considered the first mass genetic testing by a university.
Next month, about 5,500 first-year students will receive testing kits in the mail and be asked to submit DNA swabs to test three genes. The genes include those related to the ability to break down lactose, metabolize alcohol and absorb folates.
Berkeley officials said the university has followed appropriate privacy and consent procedures and has no intent to changes its plans.
But the Center for Genetics and Society, a Berkeley public interest organization, and the Council for Responsible Genetics, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., say the project disregards the potential harmful use of the information.