On Thursday, December 20, 2012, 23andMe and LabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America) were sued for patent infringement in Delaware by Australian company Genetic Technologies Limited.
Specifically, Genetic Technologies has alleged that 23andMe and LabCorp infringe U.S. Patent No. 7,615,342, entitled “ACTN3 genotype screen for athletic performance.” The complaint is available here.
ACTN3 (Alpha-actinin-3) is an actin-binding protein encoded by the ACTN3 gene. A particular mutation in the ACTN3 gene (rs1815739; R577X) results in a deficiency of the ACTN3 protein. The non-mutant version of the gene is associated with sprint performance, the mutant version is associated with endurance.
23andMe does analyze the rs1815739 SNP in their tests (see “Speed Gene: Fact or Fiction?”). My own rs1815739 SNP genotype, for example, is TT, meaning that I have no working copies of ACTN3 in my fast-twitch muscle fibers. From the complaint:
I received my results from the Geno 2.0 test from National Genographic tonight. The results align fairly well with what I already know about my DNA. For example, I knew I was haplogroup A2 (a Native American haplogroup), but the A2w is new so I have to do some research there.
Even more interesting is my paternal haplogroup designation. The NatGeo tests lists the terminal SNP instead of a haplogroup that will typically encompass multiple SNPs. I am listed as R-Z306, which is R1b1a2a1a1a3a1 on the current ISOGG Y-DNA tree. However, my results indicate that I am L1+, which is associated with Null439 (I previously knew I was null439). Many believe that L1+ is downstream of Z306+, but these types of questions are exactly what the NatGeo 2.0 test will help determine.