[APG Public List] [APG Members] Exciting New Dimension for
JYoung6180 at aol.com
JYoung6180 at aol.com
Sat Oct 31 15:06:03 MDT 2009
I can't speak for 23andme (obviously) but I'd guess their primary focus is
medical and genealogical aspects are secondary--but an inevitable part of
I do know that when the company first started, the husband of the company's
co-founder Google's Sergey Brin, was tested and learned he inherited a
rare mutation that will greatly predispose him to early onset Parkinson's
disease. The site tells you that, in most cases, Parkinson's is not thought to
be primarily inherited and is more likely caused by environmental factors.
However, in people who carry this rare mutation it IS genetic.
After learning this, Brin donated a large amount of money to Michael J.
Fox's Parkinson research group and some of that money was then granted to
23andme to enable the Parkinson's community to be tested at a nominal fee
aiding research into causes and possible cures. Not only is Brin himself at risk
but at the time he learned he carried the mutation his wife was pregnant
with their first child--who would have a 50% risk of inheriting the gene as
well. When they established their company motto "Genetics just got
personal" they weren't kidding!
I don't think you can put a pricetag on the value of this information and
PS: I learned a fascinating tidbit from the info on the 23andme site that
gives me a better insight into genetic mutations. The ones that stick and
get passed along into the population in future generations "stick" for a
reason. Ones that have no purpose at all usually just die out. The mutation
that results in some Africans being carriers for sickle cell had a side
BENEFIT of protecting them from malaria! That is undoubtedly why that mutation
"stuck." It is when the gene is doubled upon that it becomes a health issue.
In a message dated 10/31/2009 4:50:06 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
scott at appletree.com writes:
I realize I said the TechCrunch article was harsh, I meant the comments to
I'm just curious how big a market opportunity 23andme thinks their
genealogy services is and if they're going to focus on this or their staff cuts
are going to affect it. Clearly, I think everyone agrees, decoding our genes
to find physical traits including risks for cancer is immensely valuable.
Personalized medicine and associated health benefits... this is the
future. But I read a lot about disappointed users given that we're basically
just not there yet. On the other hand, I'm now reading about so many really
amazing stories of people successfully using 23andme ancestry and
relationship finder services. This is something that is immediately resonating with
a lot of people.
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