A June 18th article from MSNBC about online family trees and social networking revealed another tidbit about 23andMe. According to the article (and no source of the information is given), 23andMe “plans to charge $1,000 for an extensive genetic profile and features to help track down lost relatives.”
I’m not exactly sure what that means. Are distant cousins lost relatives? Or is the unknown birth mother of an adopted child a lost relative? Given 23andMe’s interest in genetic genealogy, I’m guessing that it’s for general interest, rather than just for people looking for birth parents. Or perhaps they’re doing both – it’s really not much of a difference. It’s all about building a database, of course. Without the ability to compare results to a database, the usefulness of DNA testing for genealogical purposes can still be informative but is limited.
And by the way, I’m back on the first page of Google results for a “23andMe” search! I took a hit after it was announced that Google had invested in 23andMe because some of the ‘big blogs’ in the blogosphere discussed the company. Although I was knocked off the front page for a while, visits to my blog skyrocketed! For two weeks after the announcement, 23andMe was a very popular search on Google and other search portals. It was up on Google Trends for quite a while as well. Now, the only blogs ahead of me are ZDNet, Technorati, GigaOM, and our very own Hsien when she was blogging at GeneticsandHealth!