23andMe adds new genetic test for type 2 diabetes predisposition

Genetics company 23andMe has announced plans to start offering a test that'll help reveal whether the customer is predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes. The test targets one of the most common preventable diseases in the United States, potentially serving as a motivational tool to help spur some customers into making important lifestyle changes. The test looks at a number of potential factors.

23andMe has slowly returned to genetic health testing following a smack-down from the FDA back in 2013. The agency cleared 23andMe to test for genes related to 10 diseases and medical conditions back in 2017, and now it is offering a Type 2 Diabetes report, though it differs from the company's other health reports.

The new screening is based entirely on the company's own research data gathered from 2.5 million customers, according to 23andMe. The risk percentage is based on a polygenic score that looks at more than 1,000 genetic variants alongside lifestyle, age, and weight. The data combined with the risk factors results in a type 2 diabetes likelihood score.

By showing a customer their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the company may help trigger lifestyle changes in some individuals who may otherwise assume they won't be impacted by the preventable condition. In addition to showing customers their score, 23andMe also provides an educational portal on type 2 diabetes.

The company offers its product in two varieties: ancestry-only for $99 and health + ancestry for $199. The latter option includes the type 2 diabetes screening, as well as reports on other predispositions, including for breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and similar serious conditions. The report also includes the company's ancestry information.