[APG Public List] [APG Members] Exciting New Dimension for DNAResearch

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 
the  whole. 
 
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 
research. 
 
Joan
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 
the  article...

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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