Thinking of buying your wife some diamond earrings for Christmas? That’s so…old school. And kind of useless. How about decoding her genetic code this year, and at $99, down from $299, it’s a steal.
Personal genetics company 23andMe has announced it is lowering the price of its genetic testing to under $100 for the holidays, in a move to grow its member base to one million people. And what’s more self-indulgent than picking through your own genome?
From empowering you to make informed health decisions to learning more about your ancestry, getting a glimpse at your genetic code is pretty fascinating. And if you want to be a little less selfish about it, getting your genes checked kind of helps humanity out a bit too.
“This will power research and medical breakthroughs and allow all of us together to revolutionize health care and help people live longer, healthier lives,” said the firm in a statement.
“A genetic data resource of this magnitude has enormous potential to address unanswered questions related to the contributions of genes, the environment and your health,” the firm added.
23andMe is certainly on the bleeding edge of personal genetic testing. The firm is a pioneer when it comes to leveraging online tools, social networking and crowd sourcing, and combining them with genetics, to create a platform that has set the stage to transform the way pharma companies and academics do health and wellness research. Think of it as democratizing health care, and putting information back into your hands.
I don’t know about you, but I know what I’m buying my loved ones this holiday season… merry chromosomes to one and all!
I have several family members who have tested at Family Tree DNA and they have never been asked to fill out any surveys. Perhaps 32andMe is different, but in any case I suspect fears of all this giving rise to a Gattaca-like society are overblown. (But it did make for a great movie.)
I looked into this and though finding out more about my DNA sounds interesting, the survey stuff seemed kind of creepy. Once they have your DNA, they want you to answer all kinds of surveys so researchers can find trends with genes and personality type. It sound like it would lead to pseudo science gene analysis, like employers using handwriting analysis to weed out job candidates. It's all too GATTACA for me. I don't trust anything these Google guys do.
I think, unless you were adopted, you probably already have a pretty good idea about your genes - at least as far as potential health concerns.
Getting DNA tested isn't just about uncovering potential medical issues. Many people are using it for genealogical research and to find out more about their ancestry and/or to connect with genetic cousins. A DNA testing company that focuses more on this aspect is Family Tree DNA:
I'm with Iniewski on this, quite honestly. There is always that potential for, "You have really crappy genes. Merry Christmas!"
If there's something credible one can do to remedy a problem, that's one thing. If there isn't, I don't know how others feel about it, but I'd sooner remain blissfully ignorant!