Emerging Tech

Genomics goes commercial with online DNA decoding services

Firms such as 23andme and deCODEme have announced services whereby users get to decode their whole genetic sequence, revealing information on ancestry and risks of various illnesses.

Firms such as 23andme and deCODEme have announced services whereby users get to decode their whole genetic sequence, revealing information on ancestry and risks of various illnesses.

An excerpt from Wired:

Reading your genomic profile — learning your predispositions for various diseases, odd traits, and a talent or two — is something like going to a phantasmagorical family reunion. First you're introduced to the grandfather who died 23 years before you were born, then you move along for a chat with your parents, who are uncharacteristically willing to talk about their health — Dad's prostate, Mom's digestive tract. Next, you have the odd experience of getting acquainted with future versions of yourself, 10, 20, and 30 years down the road. Finally, you face the prospect of telling your children — in my case, my 8-month-old son — that he, like me, may face an increased genetic risk for glaucoma.

Companies into the genome decoding space include 23andme, Iceland based deCODEme, and Navigenics, a start-up from California. Google holds a minor stake in 23andme and is also co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, wife of Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder.

23andme is charging a sum of $999 for the sequencing process while deCODEme is offering the service at a marginally lower cost of $986.

After completion of the Human Genome Project, the research that went into sequencing the whole human species is now making it to the marketplace.

Knowing about susceptibility to certain diseases definitely helps, but critics are unsure whether the information may sit well with people.

More information:

Two Companies Announce Personal DNA Analysis (enews)

Firm offers online DNA analysis (BBC)

23andMe Launches Web-Based Service Empowering Individuals to Access and Understand Their Own Genetic Information (BusinessWire)

Would you pay for the DNA sequencing service?

2 comments
don.gulledge
don.gulledge

I???ve had two occasions to interact with the DNA testing process. One of my tree???s surnames is May. May???s come from everywhere and are of many different origins. So, to make sense of it all they formed the May Reconstruction Group that does DNA test on the Males to determine origin and relationships. They do a 12 marker test, and a more expensive 25 marker test. The testing has gone a long way in showing what May folks are related to other May folks. It???s been an invaluable service to us. I also had a DNA test done to establish my race makeup. Since my ancestry came out of Tennessee, the great melting pot of the 17 and 18 hundreds. I wanted to know how I was made. It helped explain many things of my tree and gave me great satisfaction in knowing just who I am. This is even a better idea. But, a little too costly for me.

pr.arun
pr.arun

Would you opt for the DNA sequencing service?