a his & hers weblog of worlds apart
Is it merely a fad? Or will retail genomic testing companies have longevity? No one knows the answer yet, but Time Magazine believes 23andMe’s DNA testing service is important enough to hold the title
Best Invention of 2008:
“Not everything about how this information will be used is clear yet — 23andMe has stirred up debate about issues ranging from how meaningful the results are to how to prevent genetic discrimination — but the curtain has been pulled back, and it can never be closed again. And so for pioneering retail genomics, 23andMe’s DNA-testing service is Time’s 2008 Invention of the Year.”
So, it is not 23andMe’s product that Time Magazine is applauding, but the fact that the company is attempting to sell their product at all. How many people are actually ordering these tests? No one really knows. I’ve heard 23andMe reps say ‘we can’t give you definite numbers, but we can say that there are people signing up everyday.’ (Has anyone heard any concrete numbers?)
In the midst of a global economic crisis, I can’t imagine that consumer spit samples are rolling in with any great frequency. The Genetics and Public Policy Center recently launched much needed research into these companies and their consumers. Hopefully, by the time global markets stabilize and American economic security is restored, we’ll have a better understanding of the real impact of these trailblazing retail genomic products.
Photo Credit: http://genomicenterprise.com/services
As someone who has signed up to 23 and Me (albeit as a freebie), I was intrigued to see the results when they first came out, but quickly decided they had no real meaning to me. I think I would only ever feel compelled to pay for – and continue to engage with – something like 23 and Me if they could find a way to make the results relevant and contextual to me. Have you got any thoughts on how this might be done?