The newest entrant in the field of personal genomics has officially gone live.Â Pathway Genomics, located in California, uses SNP testing to examine information about Health conditions, Ancestry, Carrier Status, Personal Traits, and Drug Response.Â The company collects DNA via a spit kit, and has its own lab on-site:
We decided early on that the surest way to completely secure your information would be to build our own CLIA-certified laboratory. And that’s just what we did. Once we receive your saliva sample in our lab, your DNA never leaves the building. As a matter of fact, we place it in our proprietary DNA Lockbox for safekeeping. No other DNA testing firm offers this level of security. Others send your DNA elsewhere for testing, even to non-secure overseas locations!
The company has three levels of testing.Â The first is the Ancestry Kit only:
The second level of testing is the Health Kit only:
And the third level of testing is both the Health and Ancestry Kit:
Not surprisingly, as a genetic genealogist, I am interested in the ancestry testing offered by Pathway.Â The ancestry tests examines mtDNA in female customers, and both mtDNA and Y-DNA in male customers.Â From the website:
Pathway Genomics hired some of the leading genetic genealogists in the world to design a custom analysis with the most precise and thorough genetic ancestry testing available.Â Our maternal and paternal tests are 10 times more precise in their definition of haplogroups than other services, with more than 1000 maternal and over 200 paternal haplogroups.
This means that where other services will tell you that you are in Haplogroup J, we can tell you that you are in Haplogroup J2a1a â€“ it is like the difference between saying you drive a Japanese car and saying you drive a 2009 Toyota Camry XLS.Â By identifying your ancestry more precisely, Pathway Genomics helps you to identify people with whom you are more closely related.
Thus, Pathway Genomics uses SNP testing to identify customerâ€™s mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups.Â Because of the large number of genealogically-relevant SNPs tested, the haplogroup placement is very refined (see, for example, the ISOGG 2009 Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree, which is based on SNP testing).Â The following graph emphasizes the difference in ancestry SNP testing by Pathway and ancestry SNP testing by other companies:
The Ancestry FAQ page has more information about ancestry testing.
As the Health Kit above describes, the test examines SNPs related to more than 90 diseases, conditions, and traits, as well as carrier status of some genetic conditions, and drug interactions.Â Lists of some of these conditions are here, here, and here.
Pathway also has genetic counselors on staff for customers to ask questions and get more information:
In addition, because of the complexity and inherent uncertainties in genetic information, it is recommended that you discuss the results of your genetic test with a genetic professional, either a genetic counselor or a physician with specialty training in genetics. Our on-staff genetic counselors are available anytime.
Stay tuned, I will be providing more information about Pathway Genomics, including a review of my testing experience, soon!
I am currently a consultant for Pathway Genomics.