It Now Only Costs $100 To Know Everything About Your DNA

Illustration for article titled It Now Only Costs $100 To Know Everything About Your DNA

Mapping out your genome is the 21st Century equivalent of staring deep inside your soul; it's tempting to look, but terrifying what you might find. The DNA divers at 23andMe are hoping that slashing the price of their home-testing service—from $300 down to $100—will be enough to tilt the scales towards discovery. Are they right?

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23andMe, founded by Google honcho Sergey Brin's sweetheart, has had sales aplenty before; back in 2011 it was free for a whole day. But this time the discount is permanent, thanks to a healthy round of funding from folks like, well, Sergey Brin. What's that $100 get you? Nothing less than your full genomic breakdown, an educated guess of how likely you are to succumb to cancer, Alzheimer's, halitosis, and so on.

It's a tantalizing prospect, but also a daunting one. If you're due for Parkinson's disease in 20 years, is it better to know that now and spend the next two decades worrying about it? Or would you rather live in blissful ignorance? We've tried it here at Gizmodo, and it was as unnerving as you'd think. Maybe even more so. Especially because it all just boils down to probabilities.

At least now, though, the determining factor of to genome or not to genome is more likely to be interest than price. Three hundred bucks is a lot of money to find out anything; a hundred still ain't cheap, but if you want to know this much about yourself this badly, it's probably easier to scrape that much together. If you do, best of luck. At the very least, you're genetically predisposed to certain kind of bravery. [23andMe via Geekosystem]

DISCUSSION

hofherr
hofherr

This is so far from knowing EVERYTHING about your genome. They look for a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may or may not have any actual significance. It is a novelty, but in no way is this a diagnostic or even clinical genetic analysis. A whole genome at this point costs about $15,000 and a whole exome (all coding regions) costs about $7,000. As a clinical molecular geneticist I have a hard time with this article. Too many people get this done thinking it will tell them their risk of disease in the future, but this is incorrect and misleading.

If you want to have fun with your genome then get this done, but if you want to get diagnosed with a disorder or know your risk of presenting with a late onset disorder in your lifetime, see a geneticist and order the correct test with the correct counseling.