Whether you know it or not it's very likely that samples of your tissues or blood are on file somewhere. They may be sitting in lab freezers at military facilities, in biotech corporations, or public and private hospitals. They may be used for research into something you find objectionable, or a researcher may have already taken out a patent on your genes, selling licenses to other labs for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you will likely never find out and you have no legal recourse. (And no, it's not the plot for a George Orwell novel.)
Henrietta Lacks was 31 years old when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 and left behind a husband and five children. But that wasn't all she left behind. A sample of cancerous cells were taken from her cervix for research purposes (not an uncommon occurrence) and she wasn't told (also not an uncommon occurrence - neither in 1951 nor today). The amazing thing about those cells, however, is that they continued to multiply and divide and are still alive and multiplying and dividing all over the world today. They're known as HeLa (for Henrietta Lacks) and are among the very very few cells that have ever continued to grow and reproduce endlessly, making them extremely valuable for research. In fact, HeLa is directly responsible for some of the most amazing advances in science and medicine - the development of the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization, cancer research, cloning, gene mapping, etc. They've been to space and inside nuclear bombs, they've contaminated cell cultures worldwide, and they are bought and sold every day. Neither Henrietta nor her family knew anything about it, and they can't even afford health insurance.