DNA testing kits and me

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Monday 23 September

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: gagnonm1993 via Pixabay


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

The use of home DNA testing kits is increasing. You can purchase cheaper accommodation based on your ancestry results and generate a 'unique diet plan' based on your genetics. Criminals from cases over thirty years ago are being caught because of a family member's profile.

How did something only really seen on CSI become part of our daily lives? Should corporate companies really be using our biology for discounts? What do the DNA results actually show?

Join a panel of experts, chaired by Sara Abdulla, as they explore how these kits work, the accuracy results and the ethics behind using your profile for commercials discounts and catching killers.  

About the speakers

Debbie Kennett is a surname researcher and genetic genealogist. She is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at UCL. She has recently worked on 'using genetic genealogy databases in missing persons cases and to develop suspect leads in violent crimes'.

She is the author of two books published by the History Press: 'The Surnames Handbook' (2012) and 'DNA and Social Networking' (2011). 

Aylwyn Scally is a researcher in human evolutionary genetics at the University of Cambridge. Originally trained in theoretical physics, he uses computational and mathematical methods with large-scale genetic data. His work has included the first assembly and analysis of the gorilla genome, research on the evolution of human, Neanderthal and great-ape populations, and understanding the rate of human germline mutation.

Your chair for the evening,Sara Abdulla is the Chief Opinion Editor at Nature, London. 


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the 

The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email: events@ri.ac.uk.

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing events@ri.ac.uk.

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop. 

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