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The Latest News About 23andMe

image For new readers of The Genetic Genealogist, 23andMe is a personal genomics company that offers a service to examine more than 600,000 SNPs throughout an individual’s genome. The information is then used to analyze ancestry (using Y-DNA and mtDNA) and to estimate propensity for disease. For much more info about 23andMe and similar companies, look under “Personal Genomics” on my Featured Articles page.

A Contest

Today, 23andMe announced on their blog – The Spittoon – the winner of the company’s first ‘Win Your Genome Contest’. The contest was to describe Lilly Mendel, a publicly available but anonymous profile at 23andMe – based upon her genetic information alone. The winner was Mike Cariaso, who previously created a program that analyzes 23andMe SNP data using the growing SNPedia database.

A New Partnership

In another announcement today, 23andMe released details of a partnership between the company and The Parkinson Institute to analyze the genomes of the Institute’s patients. Unlike the typical customer, the Institute’s patients will provide information about their “individual environmental exposures, family history, disease progression and treatment response.” The official press release is here, GenomeWeb News coverage is here, and there is a mention at Simon Lin’s blog Retail Genomics.

A Panel Discussion

Linda Avey, one of the founders of the company, recently participated in a panel discussion at the Cold Spring Harbor Biology of Genomes meeting. She was joined by representatives from two competitors, deCODEme and Navigenics. Daniel Macarthur at Genetic Future provides a fantastic and lengthy review and analysis of the discussion. A mention at Genome Technology Online laments the fact that the panel discussion was civil, even though it was a gathering of three competitors. The site also provides a summary of the meeting (subscription required).

A Controversy

Also in the news are reports that two states, California and New York, are evaluating whether personal genomics services offered by companies such as 23andMe and deCODEme are regulated by state laws, and if so, whether the companies are meeting those regulations. For more information, see “California, New York Officials Probing Gene-Testing Companies” at The Mercury News.

And Everything Else!

And lastly, here are a few newspaper articles or blog posts that mention the latest in personal genomics (note that these articles are provided so that you can perform your own analysis of personal genomic services – unfortunately, I haven’t evaluated these articles for accuracy):

Blaine Bettinger

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

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