23andMe will resume (limited) testing for health issues

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 21, 2015, 3:45 pm CDT
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23andMe will resume (limited) testing for health issues

23andMe, the company that benefited greatly with some favor from Google, suffered a massive setback when the FDA stepped in and shutdown its genetic health screening service. At the time, users could pay $99 to spit in a vial and, some time later, access their genetic data parsed to include details about their personal health. Those details included things like risks for certain diseases and cancers, how they respond to different types of medication and diets, and more.

After the FDA put a stop to that, the company was forced to greatly limited its screening service, doing so with a focus on ancestry rather than health — though it did provide customers with their raw data, which could then be sent to third-party services for health interpretation. Some time later, 23andMe was given permission to screen for a single health issue.

Earlier this month, Ancestry.com revealed that it will eventually expand its genetic screening to include health details in addition to ancestry information. That would have to happen in step with the FDA and its requirements, though, and now 23andMe is back with its own — though still limited — genetic health screenings. This time around, the company has approval to screen for 36 potential issues.

23andMe will offer carrier tests, which screen for genetic mutations that could cause one’s offspring to develop one of 36 diseases, including Tay-Sachs and sickle cell anemia. Though it isn’t as extensive as the health screenings it used to offer, the service will help prospect couples determine whether they’re genetically suitable for having children together. The new screening service costs $199 USD.

SOURCE: New York Times


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