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23andMe launches personal genome service in the UK

Mail-order genetic service will cost £125
23andme genetic research

US online genetic information firm 23andMe has expanded to the UK, launching a mail-order service that provides customers with their personal genetic information.

Unveiling its CE-marketed Personal Genome Service the Google-backed company was at pains to note that its new service was not a diagnostic – and on approving the product the MHRA cautioned that no genetic test is 100% reliable.

Nevertheless, the company said it “may reveal risk factors for certain diseases or conditions such as blood clotting, Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease, and how your body may respond to specific medications, such as warfarin or hepatitis C treatments”.

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki said: “23andMe's mission is to ensure that individuals can personally access, understand and benefit from the human genome. The UK is a world leader in genomics and we are very excited to offer a product specifically for UK customers.”

The service costs £125 (about €160), including postage, and includes more than 100 reports offering health, trait and ancestry information and costs, but its health reports can only be purchased in the UK, by UK residents.

23andMe last year ran into trouble with US regulators for providing a health data service, which ran for six years and tested more than 500,000 people, before it was fully licensed.

The firm's health reports are still not cleared by the FDA and US customers are limited to its ancestry-only product, which also provides access to customers' uninterpreted raw genetic data.

Nevertheless it has attracted industry interest and over the summer signed a deal with Pfizer to collaborate with the pharma company on research into the genetic factors associated with irritable bowel disease.

3rd December 2014

From: Healthcare

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