Latest Launches at 23andMe

Latest Launches at 23andMe

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted January 22, 2008 in DNA Around the World, DNA Testing

Starting today, 23andMe services are now available in Canada and Europe. (press release) The Guardian attempts to inject a few words of warning to potential customers by quoting Dr. Helen Wallace of GeneWatch:

“Our main concern is that the human genome is set to become a massive marketing scam,” she said, adding that special diet foods and pills had been promoted on the back of tests. “Genetic tests like these are not regulated and the science is still poorly understood – so there is a real danger people could be misled about their health.”

My question is: What isn’t a “scam” nowadays? Do I really need 10 different shades of eyeshadow? Does my five-year-old really need the whole collection of Ben 10 toys (which will never be amassed in our lifetime)? Should we be eating low fat cookies or high protein bread?

You want to know the truth? Everyone’s out to “scam” us. You have to make your own informed decisions about what you’re going to buy into. For some, it could be a genetic test for balding. For others, it could be a $350,000 personal genome sequence. Take some responsibility and initiative and figure out what’s right for you! /rant over

spittle bug spittoon

By the way, 23andMe has also launched their blog, the spittoon. Pop by and say “hi”! And maybe convince them to join The DNA Network (now numbering 41).

(6 comments)


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6 Comments

[...] makes sense! January 22, 2008 Posted by Bertalan Meskó in 23andMe, Genome. trackback Today, Hsien-Hsien Lei at Eye on DNA shared an important announcement with us. 23andMe services are now available in Canada and Europe [...]

 
Comment by Larry Moran

You want to know the truth? Everyone’s out to “scam” us. You have to make your own informed decisions about what you’re going to buy into. For some, it could be a genetic test for balding. For others, it could be a $350,000 personal genome sequence. Take some responsibility and initiative and figure out what’s right for you!

You are a physician. You are heavily promoting these testing services on your blog. What if they are scams?

Do you need to take any responsibility? How is the average person supposed to find the truth and figure out what’s right for them? Don’t you think they might turn to your blog thinking that it’s authoritative?

You have a responsibility to find out who’s scamming and who’s not and report it on your blog. You have voluntarily assumed that role and you can’t shirk it just because the going might get a bit rough.

Larry, Would you stop jumping to conclusions again? #1 you’ve known me for how long now and still don’t know I have a PhD in genetic epidemiology and am not a physician or medical geneticist?!

#2 I am providing information here to the best of my ability but it’s not my full time job. I cannot hope to cover everything in a post a day. There is more than one resource on the Web and elsewhere. I am asking people to put their thinking caps on and go dig around just as I do when I want to learn something. My friends and I do it every day when we want to buy something–make-up, toys, clothes, gadgets–is it so different here?

Oh, and if you want to “accuse” me of promoting these tests here, you can do the same for all media outlets and journalists that are reporting on personal genomics and mentioning company names. Oops, I suppose that could mean you! Negative publicity is still publicity and all that jazz.

 
 
Comment by Larry Moran

Larry, Would you stop jumping to conclusions again? #1 you’ve known me for how long now and still don’t know I have a PhD in genetic epidemiology and am not a physician or medical geneticist?!

Touché. That was really stupid of me. You are, in fact, even more of an expert on these thing than I implied.

Oh, and if you want to “accuse” me of promoting these tests here, you can do the same for all media outlets and journalists that are reporting on personal genomics and mentioning company names.

No problem. They are all promoting personal genomics and helping the companies make tons of money.

I don’t see too many postings on Eye on DNA that point to problems with the tests and the hype surrounding them. Have I missed them? Did you do a posting on the silly genealogy tests that are being sold to the naive public? You know, the ones where they discover they are related to Marie Antoinette?

Have you helped your readers understand the differences between the various tests and which ones are likely to be informative? Have you cautioned them that they may discover things they don’t want to know?

Larry, Go through my archives and you’ll see that I often touch on the limitations of genetic testing. You yourself even had faint praise for one of my recent posts about the ASHG comments on genetic testing.

In any case, I don’t know why you have such high expectations of me. Blogging is not my career. It’s something I do for fun and I write on things that I feel passionate about, want to learn more about, or simply find amusing. I have no obligation to anything for anyone. I doubt my readers expect me to be the only go-to source on all things genetic testing. That’s why I co-founded The DNA Network.

As Bertrand Russell said,

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.

Comment by NA

There have been some (not a lot)posts that have touched on the pro’s and con’s of genetic testing in relation to personalized genomic testing. However, not many of the posts have dealt with specific types of genetic testing.

I started a blog and will be dealing with specific type of genetic tests and genetic conditions. The focus of my blog will not be the same as other blogs.

I also started to write articles for pay. These articles are being published for the company I now write for (as a freelance writer….not an employee). The articles are the first to appear in a Google search when I sit certain keyword searches when I submit the articles for publication.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 

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