The big news in the genetic world this month is personal genomic testing. With an infusion of cash from Google, a Silicon Valley company, 23andMe, has launched a genetic testing service. Customers pay $999 and give a DNA sample in the form of saliva. The company genotypes 580,000 SNPs across the 46 human chromosomes. After testing, customers can log in to a personal account and explore their genetic makeup. Because SNPs are the source of inherited traits, the result is personal access to a wealth of medical information.
Two other companies offer a similar service. deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik genotypes 1 million SNPs for $985. Navigenics in California will genotype 1 million SNPs for $2,500. Expect to see prices plummet over the next few years. Also expect some major battles with insurance companies over access to the information.