(Mirror Daily, United States) – After a 2 year long hiatus, the 23andMe company is bringing genetic health tests back on the market and available for all consumers. Due to concerns on the accuracy of their tests, the Google-backed firm has been forced into a break, regulation, and alteration in their services.
The company, 23andMe launched in 2006 by promoting its quick kit of providing customers with an affordable way of peeking into their genetic background. Be it for knowing your lineage or tendency toward developing a genetically-transmitted condition, it boasted easy methods outside of doctors.
This included information about carrying gene mutations that would lead to rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
For $99, customers had to fill a small vial with their saliva, and then send it further to the laboratories. The scientists at the company returned their results back to them after analysis.
This was available for both detailing ancestry, or disclosing if the costumer had one of the 254 diseases or conditions. Furthermore, a good majority of their clients, 80%, agreed to their DNA analysis to be sent over to organizations for research purposes.
However, in 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the company a warning to suspend their services on the account that they did not have the proper research available for several conditions. Some, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, have not been backed by enough studies or researches to determine the precise conditions where they would be inevitable.
If science and medical communities could not provide clear answers, a simple DNA kit from the company was deemed incapable of such claims as well.
Now, 23andMe is making a comeback, this time with FDA approval. They have been providing information on lineage and ancestry, but are now edging onto the market of becoming a personal genetic service once more. Once again, customers may buy the kits, but there are several changes.
For one, they have cut down on the number of genetic disorders their test can detect. Now, the 23andMe lab kit may provide customers information about possible genetic variants that could lead them to 36 different disorders. The prices has also gone up to $199.
On the other hand, the company’s services are now FDA approved, with backed knowledge by numerous studies and findings. According to 23andMe’s CEO, Anne Wojcicki, they are now “a better company with a better product as well”. Their price went up, number of tracked diseases went down, but their accuracy also increased.
Smaller quantity with better quality. That is perhaps the sought-after effect of the FDA’s influence.
Image source: menshealth.com