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FTDNA and SeqWright To Join 23andMe and deCODEme To Offer Large Scale Genomic Analysis?

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.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

11 Comments

  1. In December, Jon Entine wrote over at Eye on DNA:

    “…Bennett Greenspan’s FTDNA is launching an Ashkenazi Genetic disease panel this week that will test for 25 common Ashkenazi diseases for only $500, an example of the responsible use of genetic genealogy.”

    The launch may have been delayed and perhaps the product offering may have evolved but FTDNA looks to have thrown their hat in the medical genetic testing ring for sure.

  2. @ Hsien: Thank you, I completely missed that! Ok, so you heard it second here at TGG! And I guess third, if you read the Houston Chronicle. Well, anyway, it will be interesting to see what products they choose to offer.

  3. I’m wondering if I ever get this, and I find out I have a high risk of “whatever” — If I’ll start a race against the clock and drink myself to death, or if I’ll eat all healthy to beat it… Or hopefully I’ll get a clean bill of genetic health – that’d be nice.

  4. Steve – I agree that it is going to be very interesting to see how all this works itself out. And I’m looking forward to learning more about Helix Health.

    blargumentor – People’s reactions to these tests are going to be varied, and this is one area of great concern for those in the field. And let’s face it – no matter what our gene profile reveals, the suggestions are always going to include healthy diet and exercise!

  5. Decodeme, 23andme are revolutionating the genetic decoding and making it accesible to public. Good and bad?. I have people asking me to be checked whole body to see if they have cancer after one of this test announce an slight risk of cancer. This is important to realize, what is the impact on peoples mind, the fear caused by this knowledge. Well, if the genetic test identify you in a percentage of increased risk for diseases what ethical answer can we give to patients. Perhaps this idea need to be regulated in terms of what information should be public and not to cause harm. Just be aware of the bad experiences with genetic decoding in Europe, where a genetic program was acquired by Insurance industry. Now there is class action lawsuit against the company that perform the genetic testing and sold it to the Insurance company. Is necessary to know the risk of diseases? I think not. Most of the diseases are clearly defined as multifactorial in risk. Only a few disease are really genetically carried by families this are the ones that we need to identify.
    LUIS LEYTON MD

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