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$999 For a Complete DNA Scan, Worth it?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

Science 451

DoroSurfer writes "ZDNet is reporting that 23andme.com will open its doors on Monday, allowing you to send them a cheek swab and have your DNA analyzed for $999 (plus shipping, of course... ;)). So what's a thousand bucks buy you? They can tell you your ancient ancestry, They can tell you what diseases you're predisposed to, They give you a "Gene Explorer" that allows you to do a search in your genome to find out if you have a certain gene (e.g., you just heard on the news that Gene XYZ has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease)."

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Blatant Misuse of the English Language (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561141)

So what's a thousand bucks buy you? They can tell you your ancient ancestry, They can tell you what diseases you're predisposed to, They give you a "Gene Explorer" that allows you to do a search in your genome to find out if you have a certain gene (e.g., you just heard on the news that Gene XYZ has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease).
Can they also tell you if you lack the basic mental capacity to correctly edit & format an English sentence with proper grammar & capitalization? The 'question' posed as the headline for this story lacks a verb or any sensible structure for that matter.

Re:Blatant Misuse of the English Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561249)


Ne nice, the submitter's DNA has the GATTGOATSECXTAGC sequence. It's not his fault.

Recommended viewing (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561143)

Looks like someone hasn't watched Gattaca [imdb.com] .

They may have a nice privacy statement, but that doesn't mean any thing if they aren't really enforcing it. Who knows?

Re:Recommended viewing (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561261)

[...] if they aren't really enforcing it, you might have wanted to use at least a fake name, even better a disposable P.O. box address.

Re:Recommended viewing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561299)

While interesting, that movie is flawed. It stated that technically, genetic discrimination was against the law, but nobody really adhered to it. In reality, companies that didn't hire due to some genetic test would have been sued into bankruptcy. Great story plot though.

Re:Recommended viewing (2, Insightful)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561313)

They may have a nice privacy statement, but that doesn't mean any thing if they aren't really enforcing it. Who knows?
So why bother disclosing your real information? I don't know what the payment methods will be, but signup under an alias and them mail them an untraceable money order. They may have your exact genetic makeup, but if they don't know who you are, your DNA might as well be anonymous itself.

Taking it a bit further, it seems like a good way of dealing with privacy in this area is to hide things in plain sight. Make everyone's data available but assign a unique ID that only the submitter will know. Then you can browse your DNA and everyone else's but no one will know who any of it belongs to.

I know, I know. You could probably just data-mine the DNA itself to figure out individual identities. In the future, if you ever go to another site and put it a few genes (for whatever purpose) that get linked to your real identity, you will be screwed. But hey, how's that any different than data mining Netflix?

Re:Recommended viewing (5, Insightful)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561675)

I know, I know. You could probably just data-mine the DNA itself to figure out individual identities. In the future, if you ever go to another site and put it a few genes (for whatever purpose) that get linked to your real identity, you will be screwed. But hey, how's that any different than data mining Netflix?

Well, if somebody finds my Netflix data, they may find out my most secret movie preferences. If insurance companies or employers link me to my DNA and discover a genetic pre-disposition to brain cancer or a debilitating disease, I'll never get health insurance again, and the misfortune will probably extend to any offspring as well. And would anybody hire you (and again, your children) if you have a genetic pre-disposition to MS or some other debilitating condition? Prospective employers are already googling for damaging Facebook information; just wait until genes enter the mix!

Until good privacy protections and anti-discriminatory legislation are in place, we're talking about a whole different level of risk. -- Paul

Re:Recommended viewing (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561725)

But hey, how's that any different than data mining Netflix?

Your Netflix rental history isn't as helpful for a nosey insurance company looking to drop policyholders with genetic predisposition for expensive illnesses.

Re:Recommended viewing (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561321)

They may have a nice privacy statement, but that doesn't mean any thing if they aren't really enforcing it. Who knows?
Wouldn't they fall under HIPAA [wikipedia.org] since this involves medical testing and records?

In Other News (2, Interesting)

lupine (100665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561435)

White House seeks to expand DNA database [usatoday.com]
Citizens, including juveniles who have been arrested for a crime(but not convicted) are being added to the governments DNA database.

Next Step (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561541)

The next step is to incorporate this into an online dating service. Not only can you search on age and sexual preferences, but you can now search for people with or without a specific gene! Search on 3 billion points of compatibility, eat your heart out eHarmony.com!

No. (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561147)

Not worth it at all.

Re:No. (4, Informative)

FalconZero (607567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561335)

With regard to being 'worth it'. It's also worth noting that despite the article title, this isn't a complete sequence. 23andMe will scan ~550,000 Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs [wikipedia.org] ) out of the (roughly) 10 million SNPs humans have, which is again quite different from a complete sequencing of the 3 billion base pairs in human DNA.

Re:No. (2, Informative)

ed1park (100777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561631)

I believe that a full sequence like Watson had could be done for as little as $100,000. If not now, then soon.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561661)

Exactly, and we don't have any particular reason to believe at this point, that those 550k include all of the ones that would be interesting anyways. A complete sequence would be far more useful even before we know what everything does, because later on one could reinterpret the sequence without having to do it a second time.

One could much more easily go in later and interpret the sequence, than have to do it a second time to fill in the missing gaps.

Personally, I'm going to pass at least until I can have my entire DNA sequenced. I may even then wait depending upon the level of concern I have for what is done with the information.

Re:No. (1)

G-News.ch (793321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561457)

999$ for a scare is quite steep. I can go to the movies and be scared for less than 10$.

Re:No. (3, Funny)

jim_redwagon (845837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561505)

the most surprising thing i have read so far is that there are still movie theatres charging less than $10!!

Gattaca, anyone? (3, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561161)

Hopefully this wont become mandatory for job applications, like credit reports are in some cases...

Re:Gattaca, anyone? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561365)

So who exactly heard god utter the words "nietze is dead"? I see this sig alot and it baffles me. Nietze's mortality isn't a very compelling counterargument to his claims. He never claimed anything close to his being immortal.

It more seems to me that you're glad he's dead because he insulted your religion. How very christian of you.

Re:Gattaca, anyone? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561595)

Or it's just an ironic joke...

Re:Gattaca, anyone? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561597)

So your comment relates to the sig (meant to be funny btw) rather than the point he is trying to make (which is very much valid mind you). And that would be Nietzsche, Friedrich Nietzsche for your ignorant brain.

Re:Gattaca, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561757)

Given the fact that you misspelled his last name, I really don't think you are qualified to comment on Nietzsche, or on any philosophical writer.

the sig in question WAS A JOKE!

Re:Gattaca, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561429)

Better hold onto your eyelashes.

Beware early adopters (5, Interesting)

Besna (1175279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561169)

I'm going to wait for the full genome scan. Early adopters here will be getting much less than the real thing. With X-prize still contests around for genome scanning, it should not be too long. I want every C, T, G, and A.

After that, I'm all for it. Not even a needle prick is needed.

Re:Beware early adopters (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561653)

I'll be all for it once the government wants to pay for it. The telco companies violated numerous laws to "aide" the government in "hunting for terrorists". Government homeland security agent used database information to harass and threaten his ex girlfriend. Google and Yahoo! work with just about any government to do whatever they want against their people, in the interest of better corporate relations with their governments.

So why exactly should I not expect my DNA information to be archived, cataloged and given to the government at-whim? And since we KNOW that is going to happen, why in the fuck should I spend a thousand bucks for that? As long as they're going to violate me, they might as well at least PAY for it.

I'll wait for the Chinese version (5, Funny)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561177)

$99.98
You come from monkeys

Re:I'll wait for the Chinese version (1, Redundant)

lixee (863589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561229)

All your gene are belong to us.

Re:I'll wait for the Chinese version (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561255)

No, that's the National Geographic [nationalgeographic.com] version. The report is a little different; although, they state that as the state of the art advances, the results available to you will be updated accordingly. Anyone done this?

Re:I'll wait for the Chinese version (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561363)

The NG version is all about Genealogy/Genography; 23andMe or deCODEme seem to provide similar detail in that area plus insights about your expected health problems and capabilities.
All three offers are updated with new discoveries and results.

Re:I'll wait for the Chinese version (1)

visigoth (43030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561453)

I managed to score an 'early adopter discount' through somebody at work (75% off) and signed up. I know the risks, but am not terribly worried -- though, having just read Crichton's novel "Next" perhaps I should be -- but am very curious. Was tempted at the announced list price, but getting in at a discount is even better.

I got a sample kit for a friend as well... fair warning to others who might be tempted to buy this service for those other than themselves, all sample kits are grouped together as a single order, no option to separately ship each kit to a different address, so the kits will be sent to me and I'll need to send my friend hers... and it looks like there won't be any partitioning of access, either; e.g. she and I will be able to see both of our analysis results. I had to buy both at once because the discount code was limited to a single purchase (of up to 5 kits). Good thing my friend and I both trust each other implicitly. ;)

I'm waiting for the creationist model... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561425)

A low low low one time payment of $10,000 and a lifetime contract for tithings just to tell me that some invisible dude created me and my dna is immutable and just the same as adam's. It should be a huge success.

Re:I'll wait for the Chinese version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561479)

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

No! (0, Redundant)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561179)

I would give them $999 to NOT do a DNA scan of me. Do I want to know if x years from now I'm likely to come down with Parkinsons Disease? Not really, I'd rather just live my life than worry about the future.

Re:No! (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561243)

Well, it could tell you if you want to make your annual charity donation to the Parkinson's prevention or the Alzheimers prevention people. :)

Re:No! (2, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561265)

So, for you, information about potential problems leads to worry. Interesting. Would it not help to plan for the worst and live for the best?

Re:No! (5, Insightful)

Loether (769074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561307)

I have a grandfather with Alzheimer's disease, a disease which if treated early can be very effectively treated extending your life and more importantly to me improving the *quality* of life. This disease begins with no symptoms and progresses slowly going possibly untreated for years. I for one would like the head start.

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561327)

Ah yes -- the "ignorance is bliss" philosophy. That sounds productive.

I happen to know, baring some incredibly unlikely event(s), that I will die in less than 50 years. And I'm moderately confident that my death will be related to heart disease. Such knowledge does not make me live in fear; neither should knowledge of your genetic predisposition to a particular disease, or any other insight into the future. As a sentient being you can make predictions about your future; you should use such abilities to improve your life rather than sticking your head in the sand and hoping nothing bad happens.

Re:No! (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561359)

This takes hypocondria to a whole new level. You don't think you have disease x, you think you have the genes that could lead to disease x. And there ain't a thing you can do about it. Yet.

Re:No! (2, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561421)

Ignorance is bliss. On the other hand, knowing that you are endangered of e.g. Parkinson's might be enough motivation to do something about it and maybe, just maybe, doing something about it might decrease the chances of actually suffering of the disease.

Re:No! (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561745)

Do I want to know if x years from now I'm likely to come down with Parkinsons Disease? Not really, I'd rather just live my life than worry about the future.

I'd rather know sooner than later if I am going to have a terminal illness.

For one, preventative measures might make me live long enough for a cure if caught early on.
Secondly, I wouldn't worry so much saving for retirement or paying off bills. Seriously, it would suck to finally have all this money and then get too sick to enjoy life and die shortly thereafter.

In short no... (4, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561199)

I'm a 6' 5" muscular, blonde, blue-eyed swede. I can tell pretty well what my DNA is, it's AWESOME, thank you! So no it's not worth a grand.

Re:In short no... (1)

JuanCarlosII (1086993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561259)

I didn't realise that there was a gene which could predispose one to being born in Sweden.

Unless of course you mean the vegetable...

Re:In short no... (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561329)

Or except that it was a joke, seeing as I'm from Appalachia (the backwoods of America).

Re:In short no... (1)

JuanCarlosII (1086993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561381)

There's nothing funny about gigantic anthropomorphic root vegetables. She's never been the same since...

Re:In short no... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561283)

my DNA is, it's AWESOME

I'll say! I just LOVE a strong, assertive woman!

Re:In short no... (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561695)

kool, we are the same height, have the same hair color, and have the same first name... wonder how many similarities one would find in our DNA. On the other hand I have brown eyes and am quite thin.

Hmm (5, Funny)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561203)

Does it say what my metachlorian count is?

Need information yoda does.

Re:Hmm (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561449)

Midichlorians live, as far as I know, in your cells and blood. 23andMe analyzes a cheek swab. Unless your spit is blood, no, it won't tell you.

Only if... (4, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561205)

...it reveals my latent mutant abilities. I'm personally hoping to find out I can generate fire.

Re:Only if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561515)

How delightful! Motd just started saying:
"I can read your mind, and you should be ashamed of yourself."

Slashdot users are fucking nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561215)

You are all fat bastards with aspergers syndrome and you watch guro hentai!

This is so stupid.... (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561217)

that it'll make those guys another fortune.

FTFA: Would you be willing to send your DNA to a private company for analysis? If so, would you pay $999 for it?

Absolutely not! Because, even if they did find out that I was predisposed to some diseases or I even had some, exactly, pray tell, would I be able to do about it? I live a pretty healthy lifestyle as it is. And I know, based on family history what diseases I'm genetically predisposed. So, this service is worthless to me.

Second, are they going to sign a contract that states that they will not release my results to: law enforcement, trial lawyers, insurance companies, or anyone else without my expressed consent? I don't think so.

Re:This is so stupid.... (2, Funny)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561295)

I live a pretty healthy lifestyle as it is. And I know, based on family history what diseases I'm genetically predisposed. So, this service is worthless to me.

It sounds like you're the kind of guy this would be perfect for. Send it in, find out you've got some disease that's going to kill you when you're 45... well fuck that healthy lifestyle! Time to smoke, eat trans-fats, lots of red meat, hookers, high risk activities... all the good stuff!

Re:This is so stupid.... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561537)

Very, very few genes give you a 100% of dying at a given age. Most simply state you gave a higher risk and the risk is heavily dependent on the environment. So if you live healthy you have little to worry about but if you don't your heart may explode early.

Re:This is so stupid.... (1)

krondell (1147917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561539)

NitroWolf - I'd like to subscribe to your news letter...

And then sell it to who? (4, Interesting)

haluness (219661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561221)

How long will it be before they "lose" the gene data? Or maybe "share" the data?

Also given that the CEO is Sergey Brins wife, I wonder whether Google will get involved at one point?

Relations between Google and 23andme (3, Interesting)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561483)

I can't find who the CEO of 23andme is (after only 30 sec of research), but Anne Wojcicki is indeed at least co-founder of the company and member of the Board of Directors: https://www.23andmeobjects.com/res/1570/pdf/factsheet.pdf [23andmeobjects.com]

Oh and Google is already involved in this company, they are an investor: https://www.23andme.com/about/corporate [23andme.com]

Somewhat dupey... (3, Informative)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561223)

This has already been mentioned [slashdot.org] , except last time the spotlight was on deCODEme [decodeme.com] by deCODE genetics which offers more details (1m vs. 600k "sites" of the genome) for less ($985 vs. $999).

I'd love to hear about the results, though.

FAGORWZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561227)

Add it to the Christmas list (3, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561239)

For rich hypocondriacs. More seriously, I wonder what the implications are for the insurance, medical and even dating industries.

Re:Add it to the Christmas list (4, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561373)

For rich hypocondriacs.
Indeed. And therein lies a significant danger.

For instance, high-resolution full-body scans [wikipedia.org] (a CT scan of every inch of your body) are frequently criticized because they are so accurate and exhaustive that they will nearly always find something. Even a perfectly healthy individual will have a variety of benign masses of tissues which will show up on CT. Some experts have even estimated that a full-body scan will statistically reduce your health (or chance of survival or whatever) since it increases your risk due to unnecessary secondary tests more than it reduces your risk due to early detection.

Yet many (overly rich?) people want full-body scans because they want to make sure that any possible disease is caught... not realizing that you expose yourself to risk with each medical test.

I worry this kind of gene-sequencing will do the same thing: many people will see their results, not properly interpret the risks, and go rushing out for secondary tests (some of which have a small danger associated with them). Worse, some people may read their results and change their lifestyle without medical consultation, in order to "manage" a condition that they have not actually expressed yet. (And, again, you can do more harm than good when you try to manage a condition you don't have, at the expense of doing things that would actually make you more healthy.)

Obviously it's a personal choice if you want to gather this extra information about yourself. I just hope that the companies offering this service make the risks clear and help the customers actually understand the data and probabilities.

Re:Add it to the Christmas list (5, Insightful)

GryMor (88799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561591)

The benefit of a 'healthy' full body scan isn't finding current problems. When you do have a problem, already having had a scan when you didn't have that problem, allows a new scan to be much more useful, in as much as you already know what was there ahead of time, and can take a gander at what has changed.

Gene Sequencing Options (5, Informative)

netelder (41) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561241)

deCODEme http://decodeme.com/ [decodeme.com] does this for $985 (intro price) and has the advantage of being based in Reykavic Iceland, out of reach of easy US Govt access. Another (US) company is NaviGenics http://www.navigenics.com/ [navigenics.com] .

Very much worth it if one is interested in learning about and working to minimize one's genetic risks.

Re:Gene Sequencing Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561423)

How much do they charge to analyse obscenely low Slashdot IDs?

Re:Gene Sequencing Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561581)

Woudln't deCODEme also have the disadvantage of being based in Reykavic, Iceland, out of reach of US courts?

Misspelling (5, Funny)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561245)

> $999 For a Complete DNA Scan

The word is "scam", not
"scan".

Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561251)

It seems like the results of this test could be quite interesting, but I don't think I'd pay $1000 for it. Maybe in another couple of decades this kind of thing would be cheap and easy; in that case, I'd go for it.

Surely someone here on Slashdot who works in biology will know: assuming you have the equipment to do this, how much does this sort of thing actually cost to get done? And how much does said equipment typically cost? That is, how much profit does this company make when you pay them your $1000?

Couple decades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561677)

Try 5 years. You'll get more bang for your buck.

So what's a thousand bucks buy you? (4, Insightful)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561257)

A nice call from your insurance company informing you that they are dropping your coverage due to a genetic predisposition for X disease.

Cost of early adoption (2, Interesting)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561267)

That's a lot of money for a relatively new technology. While I think the idea is cool, I'd rather wait a few years when it's cheaper, works better, and there's more competition in the field. Let the early adopters pay the high fee and the rest of us can reap the benefits when the costs come down.

And of course, every year we'll have a better idea of what the results actually mean.

Maybe one day it will be as simple as a home blood-sugar test - "use this combination finger pricker/USB drive to get an instant scan of your DNA!"

Re:Cost of early adoption (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561337)

I'd rather wait a few years when it's cheaper

You might be dead by then. However, don't consider this as a good reason to adopt the iPhone.

Re:Cost of early adoption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561399)

"That's a lot of money for a relatively new technology."

New technology is always more expensive...

Genetichondriacs unite (1)

Niten (201835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561309)

They give you a "Gene Explorer" that allows you to do a search in your genome to find out if you have a certain gene (e.g., you just heard on the news that Gene XYZ has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease).

Oh boy... this is going to take hypochondria to a new level.

Your DNA and Privacy (0, Redundant)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561315)

How long until government(i.e. USA) orders them to hand over the DNA of Citizen X, a suspect in a crime, so they can match it against suspect DNA from a crime scene?

This basically provides governments with a large bank of DNA they can strong-arm their way into whenever they feel the need, regardless of whatever "privacy statement" the company itself claims to adhere to.

If privacy and your DNA being mapped are important, consider a private laboratory.
*adjusts tinfoil hat*

Source site (2)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561331)

As anyone who's watched ST:TNG knows [wikipedia.org] , a cheek swab isn't completely reliable. You need to have a long needle going into your abdomen in order to get pure enough DNA to make a clone.
 

Re:Source site (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561721)

You need to have a long needle going into your abdomen in order to get pure enough DNA to make a clone.
Baldercrap! You only need a forkful of back growth scrapings to make a clone!

NOT a Complete DNA Scan (5, Informative)

eclaculator (1197723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561343)

People frequently confuse microarray SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) studies with an actual DNA scan that identifies all 3 billion A,C,T and G bases in the human genome. This $1000 option looks at about 2 million KNOWN sites which vary between people. These mutations are not the ones that actually code for a disease, but because they happen to be NEAR the actual ones that do on the chromosomes, it is assumed that if you have the SNP mutation, you will have the disease-prone variant in your genome as well. The problem with this technique is that it only measures variants that we know about, whereas a true complete DNA scan would be the "gold standard" and provide you with the most detailed information possible. Unfortunately, a true DNA sequencing of this variety runs about $100000.

So this is how they do it now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561349)

So instead of forcing your dna into databases so the police will have you on record, you now get the joy of paying a thousand dollars to hand it over? Where can I sign up?

will tell you very little about your health (2)

welcher (850511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561353)

Apart from a few very strong known genetic associations, there is currently little that your genotype can tell you about your current or future well-being. The strong associations are so strong, chances are you already know about it (cos you or close family members have something wrong with you). The weak associations tell you things like your chance of heart problems might be 3% higher than the majority of the population because of a few SNPs.

It's possible that you could find some unknown aspects about your family history but you probably already know which part of the world your ancestors come from.

So it's a vanity project that costs $1000 and possibly compromises your privacy.

medical costs (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561379)

I like the concept of knowing what I might be susceptible to. Depending on what I maybe susceptible to I could easily save a grand knowing that now. That would allow me to change my behavior and lower my risk factors. High blood pressures, awesome, I'll work on that now. Cancer? I'll do what I can to lower my risk.

I think the price will come down and that the amount of useful knowledge will go up, its only a matter of time before it becomes worth your time and money.

I'd demand privacy from such a service. I'd hope that insurance companies wouldn't be able to charge me extra because of some gene.

Beware health insurance implications (5, Interesting)

timcrews (763629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561391)

Our doctor advised us once that we should not do genetic assays unless it was a serious health situation. Anything that you learn in the negative direction may be grounds for future denial of health insurance coverage. If you're just curious -- it is probably better not to know.

Re:Beware health insurance implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561549)

I'm pretty sure that people dropping a grand on a whim aren't likely to be worried about health insurance.

good news for bio grads (3, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561395)

As a science junkie (but engineer by day), it seems apparent that genetics technology could be as big as (if not bigger) than computer technology has been for the past twenty years. The problem is, someone with a BS in Software Engineering or Computer Science will start out making $50-%70k, while someone with a BS in Biology will only make about $30k. With those kinds of numbers, a scientifically inclined undergrad would be making a huge gamble by selecting Bio as a major.

My hope is that services like this will start to provide jobs for our current Bio grads, pushing the salaries up to a level that makes the choice of a Biology major much more desirable. Only then will the genetic revolution really start to take off.

Re:good news for bio grads (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561679)

If CS grads are supposed to start out at $50-70k I am either retarded or grossly underpaid. Highest offer I got fresh out of college last year with almost 2 years of relevant internship experience was $45K.

When adjusted for reality your bio people are living below the poverty line in most areas.

Re:good news for bio grads (2, Insightful)

confusednoise (596236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561703)

a scientifically inclined undergrad would be making a huge gamble by selecting Bio as a major.


A huge gamble if the size of your paycheck is the only criterion you use to judge the success of your career choices...there are others - pursuing what you love comes to mind, for example.

Just food for thought...

Worth it? Absolutely (2, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561417)

While privacy is an issue, I think this sort of thing could an invaluable tool to know more about yourself. Some may want to not know about what they are predisposed to, but I have a hard time understanding why. Sure, you may be hit with something life changing, but those are things I want to know - the sooner the better too. Think of it this way, before you buy are car you should look into its safety, reliability, etc etc. - you look into the investment to know what you are getting into. The same can be said for the DNA decoding - you should know what kind of body you are walking around town with so you can accommodate for any shortcomings nature bestowed upon you.

You can claim ignorance is bliss, but seeking to be willfully ignorant of a subject is the height of irresponsibility.

On the question of whether or not it is worth it for $1000... well I think so. Look at things in the long run - you'll have in inside track on those insurance companies.

Online Scan (0)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561485)



I have the info on my website and I already scanned you

Results:

                    You are most like Frodo from Lord of the Rings.

I wouldn't want to know... (3, Insightful)

thealpha (308746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561511)

Having been previously misdiagnosed with Leukemia and acting on that diagnoses for almost a year, I can tell you that being told that I'm predisposed to something would make every day difficult and worrisome. Shoudl I eat that? Why do I have a headache? My feet are hot, is that a sign?

I would rather have it surprise me and then live every day for what it's worth. Else you might think you sick and run up a bunch of bills you can't pay when you find out you're fine.

There are some cool DNA projects out there already (4, Informative)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561529)

National Geographic has a project called The Genographic Project [nationalgeographic.com] that will take your DNA and trace the ancient travels of your ancestry. It costs $100+S&H and your data is stored along with an anonymous code only you know (before you send it in.) Then the group takes all of the data it gets and puts it all together to further their research.

The team behind the project has already collected thousands of samples from people worldwide who have interesting lineages (Indiginous people in xyz area) and found out some REALLY cool stuff.

The $1k thing seems like a privacy nightmare though.

If you have a gene? (1)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561561)

They give you a "Gene Explorer" that allows you to do a search in your genome to find out if you have a certain gene (e.g., you just heard on the news that Gene XYZ has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease)."

If this is your approach genetic diagnostics, then you're pretty much going to find out that you have every 'disease gene' going..

Check to make sure it's "your" sequence (0, Troll)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561567)

There's another company out there doing wall art based on your DNA sample. If I cared enough to spend the money I'd pondered sending them 2 samples, but from different customer names. In theory, the art should have matched.

I'd like to see some consumer watchdog group do this with these guys. Send the same sample, supposedly from different people, then compare the results.

Caveat Emptor (2, Interesting)

zombie_striptease (966467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561569)

Funnily enough, I got to reading about a similar service last week: The DNA Ancestry Project run by GeneBase (they've had banner ads all over ScienceDaily). As the name implies, it focuses on the Ancestry rather than giving information on disease susceptibility, though I think I remember reading that you'd have full access to your code online and be able to search it. Unfortunately, looking around for further info online returned a blog post [geneticsandhealth.com] full of commenters who were ripped off in a big way by the company. I'm not saying that any company running a similar service is also out to scam you, but I would generally encourage the buyer to be wary, particularly considering the cost of the service and how little and often vague our knowledge really is in this field at the moment.

Let's look inside the can of worms... (1)

TheBearBear (1103771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561571)

I didn't RTFA, but do they say anything about fraud and privacy? What if I were to get a sample of someone's saliva and send it in, saying it came from me? I can pick it up from their tobacco chew, or seeing them spit, lots of things! So then what? Can anyone think of any measures against this? I can't think of a good one. of course, I am assuming the crap you get from the inside of your cheeks can be found in saliva!

makes absolutely no sense yet (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561579)

these types of tests are the future of medicine, i have no doubt about it (i'm staking my current education in genetics on it), but at the moment they don't provide a lot. not only do these tests only cover a very very limited portion of your genome, but their "disease predisposition" prediction ability cannot possibly be very accurate for diseases with complex and largely-unknown genetic backgrounds.

there are now hundreds of known "hotspots" in the genome that have been linked to certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, just to name a few. someday, when DNA sequencing is cheaper and faster, it will be feasible to test large samples of people and extrapolate strong empirical statistics about the relationship between specific mutations and disease, until we find the exact mechanisms of each gene. but for the time being, these statistics are based off of very very few people. for some diseases, looking directly at your sequence can tell you if you have a condition or not. for instance, it is well known that sickle cell anemia is caused by a single nucleotide change, from A to T, which causes a valine to be used in place of a glutamate in the B-globin protein. if one has this mutation in both parental copies of the gene, one has the condition no matter what. however, most other diseases are not so cut-and-dry, and will require huge sample sizes to elucidate the probabilities. this is especially true considering the fact that any one disease can be affected by dozens if not hundreds (or thousands) of different genes. the science of bioinformatics [wikipedia.org] will be very important to us in the future, as pinning down these correlations is as much mathematics as it is biology.

individual disease prediction will have to wait, but one thing that this type of testing can help with now is carrier testing. many diseases are recessive, and one can be walking around completely healthy but still carry the gene for, let's say, cystic fibrosis. If two heterozygous carriers have children, (usually) the odds of having a child with the disease is 1/4. these genetic screens may be able to tell you if you are indeed a carrier, which will allow you to make more informed decisions about having children. "genetic counseling" is starting to take off these days, as couples are increasingly aware of the genetics behind disease.

north of DC to become 'new' sunbelt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561611)

not right away of course, due to all the fake 'weather' being manufactured for US. maybe next year, or as soon as the godless corepirate nazis are disempowered by the big flash.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

see you there?

Worth it? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561649)

Well the actuaries would say so. After all if you are likely to come down with something then they get to jack your rate, if not you get the "normal" anal probing price. Seriously though, you have to take into account how much is the knowledge gained worth? Will you be able to afford preventative actions if you knew you had a high risk of heart and stroke diseases? If you can't afford the gym membership or pills then the knowledge has no value to you. Similarly, someone that is homeless, spouseless, and has no earning potential doesn't have a life "worth" $999 (not in a judgemental way, just as the courts would see it if they had to reimburse long lost second cousin Bill for his traumic loss ;)).

If your aggregrate life earnings (or another measure of utility) will not be increased by the changes that the info will cause you to do, then no it isn't worth it. The problem is this is a blackbox purchase, it is the typical fortune teller scenario, I have information about your future will you pay X for it, well that depends whats the info? Similarly the value of the genetic scan depends on what the result is. Now if you know you are from an unhealthy family maybe it is worth seeing if you inherited the crap in your family tree or not, after all you might put a greater value on insurance if you think there is a better chance of you needing it earlier than later due to your genetics.

Sounds like a great database... (0, Redundant)

swb311 (1165753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561681)

that they'll put together and the feds can subpoena.

or get one for free! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21561705)

why not just murder someone and leave some DNA at the scene? then you'll get a scan for free from the fuzz!

Please. This is a more useless rip off than naming a star after someone.

They should be paying you for it. (1)

torquefrost (923851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21561735)

Worth it? Get a couple SNPs checked out? No. However, they make you sign a waiver where you give them the right to use your data for science. Sounds noble? Think again, they are building a database of human data that the medical system has all the trouble in the world to build because of ethical issues. Their goal: make a huge database of "completish" human genomes and then sell access to it to big pharma and do some academic money grabbing by "contributing" to research programs as industry partner. The same way Celera sold expensive access to their "more complete" human genome in the days. Companies bought access for lots of money thinking it would give them an edge. Did it? Sure not, the data was mostly crap and still incomplete. But it's an excellent business model Hey! Would you sign your soul to the devil for a facebook account? You might as well.
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