23andMe Publishes in PLoS Genetics, Validates New Research Paradigm

23andMe is proud to announce the first publication to come out of 23andWe, our novel participant-driven research program.  Our results, which encompass replications of previous findings as well as newly discovered associations, appear online today in PLoS Genetics.

23andWe is a web-based research framework designed to facilitate the rapid recruitment of participants to many studies at once, thus reducing the time and money needed to make new discoveries.

“This paper announces and validates a revolutionary way of conducting scientific research,” said our President and Co-Founder, Anne Wojcicki.  “In this paper we confirm that self-reported data from our customers has the potential to yield data of comparable quality as data gathered using traditional research methods.  We are excited about moving scientific research forward, faster,” she continued.

(Check out “Sergey’s Search” in the current issue of Wired to learn how this approach is allowing us to validate genetic associations in a fraction of the time traditionally needed.  And check out this recent Spittoon post to read about some of our other 23andWe successes.)

Over 9,000 people contributed data to our study of 22 separate traits. Novel SNP associations were revealed for hair curl, asparagus anosmia (the inability to detect the scent of certain asparagus metabolites in urine), the photic sneeze reflex (the tendency to sneeze when entering bright light), and freckling.  Previously identified genetic associations between nine genes and certain pigmentation-related traits (hair color, eye color, and freckling) were replicated.

23andMe chose to publish its results in PLoS Genetics because of the journal’s open-access policy, which allows anyone—including 23andMe customers who contributed to the research—to freely access the study.  Customers will also see the results incorporated into the reports available in their online accounts.

Read more in this 23andMe press release.