Can 23andMe "Solve Health"?

Monday, April 21, 2014

The company 23andMe has attracted the ire of the FDA for offering at home-genetic testing for dozens of complex diseases. The company has already extracted and analyzed the DNA of 650,000 people, making it one of the biggest genetic banks in the world. New York magazine contributing editor Lisa Miller talks about speaking with the company’s founder, Anne Wojcicki, about her quest to “solve health” through big data analysis of her customers genetic information.


Lisa Miller

Comments [3]


I listened carefully and heard the guest say that "all you get now is information about your ancestry" following the FDA ban. The host even gave her a chance to expand her answer, and she talked about how the company will continue to get benefits in exploring and mining the database but failed to mention a key part of what customers of 23&me continue to get following the ban. Along with ancestry information, customers get an enormous wealth of raw data, which many progressive-minded doctors and other health care professionals, not to mention individuals, are using to learn about myriad health issues and to treat them, actually saving lives and improving health--the fields of epigenetics and nutrigenomics have come alive for lay people. It was really an egregious oversight not to mention the ongoing access to raw data provided by 23&me, especially given the clear opportunities to do so during the interview. (The guest seemed most excited about the biographical story of 23&me. I haven't read her NY Magazine piece but hope it highlights the ongoing access to individuals' raw data and its wealth of life-saving information.)

Apr. 23 2014 07:25 AM

Not to vouch for any particular 23 and me test, but...
The guest has a fundamental misunderstanding of statistics and genetics if she believes her current fitness calls into question heritable markers of risk for cardiac disease.

Apr. 22 2014 02:32 AM

Can you comment on the NY state law that prohibits mailing in test samples from a NY state address? I had to spit and mail in NJ.

Apr. 21 2014 12:45 PM

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