23andMe

Decode Your Genome


Starting yesterday, Torontonians can now pay $999 USD (plus shipping) to unlock the secrets of their DNA. The service, from Silicon Valley based 23andMe has been available south of the border since last year, but just yesterday the company announced they'll now ship to customers in Canada.

23andMe, founded by Anne Wojcicki (the wife of Google billionaire Sergey Brin), helps individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. The way it works is they send you a kit in the mail; you mail them back a sample of your saliva and 4-6 weeks later they'll post all the results online for you to explore.

Michael Arrington over at the tech blog TechCrunch ordered the kit in December and has been posting about his experience with it. He promises to share the results with his readers starting next week.

According to 23andMe's web site, the service allows customers to:

* Search and explore genes contributing to their personal characteristics, such as lactose intolerance, athletic ability, and food preferences;
* Learn how the latest research studies relate to their genomes;
* Compare their profiles to family and friends who are also 23andMe participants and trace the inheritance of genes associated with specific traits;
* Discover genetic roots and find out where and how their ancestors lived and learn about the prehistoric events they experienced, and;
* Actively participate in a new research approach and contribute to the advancement of the field of genetics.

Personally, I'd love to take the test. I know others are a little creep'd out about stuff like this - not wanting to know what diseases they might be genetically pre-disposed to. But me? Why not?

Now if only the $999 were covered by OHIP.

Photo from Michael Arrington on Flickr


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