I think we would all rest more assured if we had a clearer picture of our health outlook. If we could better understand the makeup of our DNA we would be clearer on what hand we have been dealt by our ancestors. 23andMe, a Silicon Valley-based startup that launched in mid-November, looks to make it easy to get a clearer picture by offering at-home DNA tests kits.
Founded by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 23andMe is looking to put people in touch with their DNA so that people can be better educated about the potential road ahead. By simply sending in a plastic test tube of your saliva via a $999 test kit you will receive your DNA results in just 4 to 8 weeks time. Once your results are received you can use 23andMe to determine your genotype. Users can then search for their ancestors, better understand hereditary health makeup, and even connect with other 23andMe users about related health issues like migraines or diabetes.
23andMe, an innovative idea, was recently mentioned in Wired Magazine focused on Genomics. It was created to help people, but I am concerned about the potential privacy and legal issues related to examining and handling your DNA. The fact that Google invested $3.9 million into 23andMe in May just adds to my unrest. I guess some of my fear stems from the fear of the unknown. What if your DNA were to slip into the wrong hands - who knows what could happen? In an era of information exchange and social media I do not think my DNA is something I would want to share like I do photos in my Flickrstream. Would you?