In 2017, I started to interview, photograph, and work with 23 individuals to curate the story of their experience with DNA testing. It was the year that the number of people who had done consumer DNA testing doubled.
Since the project began, the story of genetics has had a tumultuous journey. Genetic testing has been used to store GIFs, identify remains, solve crimes, reunite families, break families apart. An attempt was made in Kuwait to create a nationwide DNA database. The scientific papers flow thick and fast with debate and disproof.
But underneath the headlines is a very human story, the story of people who wanted to find something out, for reasons of health, ancestry, curiosity, scientific enquiry, and how that knowledge affected their perceptions and experiences of their own identity. This is the story that Genetopia tells.
Genetopia was made in collaboration with the Antonella Riccio Laboratory MRC LMCB, UCL, and Dr. Anna Middleton, Head of Society and Ethics Research at the Wellcome Genome Campus.