Friday, August 24, 2012

zlyoga's Experience with 23andMe: The Videos

My wife discovered a very interesting video on YouTube on genetic testing through 23andMe. Actually, it is a series of two videos. Don't let the youthful demeanor of zlyoga fool you. She knows what she is talking about. The first was done when she submitted her spit sample for testing. The second was done about a year later: 


These videos are a good overview of the genetic testing being done at 23andMe. You probably should watch her earlier (2009) video first. This second video (2010) is a little dated in terms of 23andMe's policies but the explanation of the DNA testing and interpreting process is very comprehensive and is still very good.

Of the major US companies that provide direct to consumer (DTC) testing of DNA for genealogical purposes, 23andMe is the only one which also markets testing of genes that have health implications. Many of you will remember that the original impetus for starting 23andMe was largely to help find a cure for Parkinson's. Although most of our genome probably contains health related information, so far we do not know the purpose of much of it. Fortunately our knowledge increases on an almost daily basis. 

The other major DTC genetic genealogy testing services---Family Tree DNA and Ancestry---chose to avoid health implications and concentrate of family tree building. They have done this in an attempt to avoid the scrutiny of the FDA and the wrath of the medical community. The FDA has made tentative attempts to claim that DTC genetic testing is a medical device over which they can claim jurisdiction. Large portions of the medical community still believe that DTC genetic testing is something to which they should control access in order to protect the public. Both attitudes, if accepted, would slow the progress toward personalized, genome based, medical treatment that is on the horizon and has the potential to revolutionize medical practice. If can help us predict which drugs and other treatments are likely to be successful with specific patients and thus eliminate many that would be ineffective and even counterproductive. Both patient care outcomes and medical costs can be positively effected if we treat our bodies in ways that our individual genes are ready to accept.

1 comment: