23 And Me...And Google...And Your Genome
February 3, 2008 12:51 PM Subscribe
posted by artifarce (33 comments total)
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Want your genome on a hard drive but don't have the money? 23andMe
can give you almost that: a scan of your SNPs, presented online and complete with analyses derived from up-to-date medical research (and a few educated guesses). Eight months ago, blogs were rife with speculation of who 23 could be
and what the connection with Google
But only more recently did 23 launch, and were present at the World Economic Forum
last month, obtaining the raw resources (i.e., spit) to develop the genome scan of hundreds of the world's most powerful people, something the Center for Genetics and Society refers to as the beginning of a "fashionable fetish" for the elite; Wired refers to the general trend as retail genomics
. More seriously, the CGS also questions
the ethics and goals of the scheme, positing that only big business will ultimately benefit (largely from patents and pharmaceuticals
), while consumers may have something to lose—their genetic privacy.
And to end on a note ripe for humor, 23 plans to release social networking features later this year. To learn more about the actual 23andMe procedure and web interface, the Wired article (linked above) and the NYT
are on the case.