Promotion offering DNA test kits to Ravens fans to be rescheduled

A promotion offering free DNA test kits to Ravens fans Sunday has been put off until later this season, biotech company Orig3n said, in response to unspecified concerns raised by state officials.

Fans were to have been offered the kits for “DNA Day” at M&T Bank Stadium for the Ravens’ home opener against the Cleveland Browns. But state officials raised questions about the promotion, according to Orig3n, which was sponsoring the event.

“We are working to address questions from officials from the state of Maryland,” the Boston-based company said.

A spokeswoman declined to specify the concerns or who raised them. The Ravens also declined comment.

“We received an overwhelmingly positive response to the first-ever DNA Day, and we remain committed to our mission,” Orig3n said in its statement. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Ravens.”

The promotion would have allowed participants to learn about their genetic makeup by swabbing the inside of their cheek, dropping the sample into a stadium bin and registering with the company online.

Orig3n was offering — for free — a test of four genes, including the ACTN3 gene, which the firm said can yield information on whether a person “is likely to have enhanced performance in power and sprint activities or is considered normal.”

The Ravens called it “one of the most innovative events a partner has ever spearheaded.”

But the promotion drew criticism over the mass collection of DNA samples raising privacy concerns.

Bethesda-based attorney Bradley Shear said previously that he had “serious concerns about the privacy, safety and security of the data being collected, and if fans understand the legal ramifications.”

Orig3n said it uses “stringent security standards” to ensure that customers’ genetic information is protected. DNA swabs, it said, come directly to the lab “and the results go directly back to you.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Colin Campbell and Jeff Barker contributed to this article.

mpryce@baltsun.com

Follow me on Twitter @megpryce.

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