Remember, you heard it here first! The Houston Chronicle appears to have advance news that two companies, Family Tree DNA and Seqwright, are planning to launch products that will analyze DNA for genes associated with disease, similar to services offered by 23andMe and deCODEme. The news is casually mentioned in a news story published yesterday in that newspaper, and on one of the paper’s blogs.
In the first article, “Public Can Get Genes Tested“, there is a quote from Bennett Greenspan, president and chief executive of Family Tree DNA:
“[FTDNA is] betting that public demand will soar for health testing as well, despite the skepticism of some physicians. Greenspan said Family Tree will begin testing for specific disease genes in a month or two. ‘We’ve been peppered with requests from customers for this kind of service during the last 18 months,’ he said.”
The same article also states:
“Since late 2007, a handful of companies such as deCODEme have been offering the service ["to begin unlocking information within their cells that may give clues about which diseases may afflict them later in life"]. Two Houston companies, SeqWright and Family Tree DNA, are expected to join them within a few weeks.”
On the SciGuy science blog, “Say You Take a Genetic Test. Does It Mean Anything?“, the author writes:
“[23andMe and deCODEme] will soon be joined by several Houston-based competitors, a DNA sequencing company called SeqWright, and one of the biggest ancestry DNA companies, Family Tree DNA.”
It will be interesting to see how this develops. One advantage for Family Tree DNA to enter this field is that its consumer base has already gladly accepted genetic testing with all its benefits and limitations. Additionally, the company has a in-depth understanding of genetic genealogy, allowing them to potentially create packages that offer both disease gene analysis and genetic genealogy testing.
The article (here) is particularly interesting in that it mentions Jack Grayson, an 83-year-old Houston businessman who was the first customer at deCODEme. His goal is to live to 113, and he hopes that genetic testing will help him design a plan to do so.
Stay tuned to The Genetic Genealogist for all the latest.