Anne and Linda Unveil 23andWe at D6


23andMe founders Anne Wojcicki (right) and Linda Avey on stage at D6 with hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Photo by Asa Mathat/

This morning 23andMe founders Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey unveiled our new research effort, 23andWe, at the sixth All Things Digital Conference in Carlsbad, California.

23andWe gives our customers a new way to explore genetics while simultaneously contributing to the acceleration of scientific research, simply by taking surveys about themselves. Our customers’ answers to even the simplest questions can reveal hitherto unknown connections between genetics and things people care about, including health, physical traits and other aspects of our lives.

At the conference, Anne and Linda asked media mogul Rupert Murdoch a few questions about himself: Is he lactose intolerant? Does he have a lot of cavities? Does he detect a funny smell in his urine after eating asparagus?

Even such apparently silly questions can have real scientific merit. For example, scientists are interested in the propensity that some people have to sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight, because the phenomenon is similar to one that triggers epileptic seizures. For the record, Murdoch does not sneeze when he comes out of an afternoon matinee.

Nor is he lactose intolerant. He smells nothing during post-asparagus micturation. And he has a mouth full of cavities. We encourage you to try 23andWe yourself. Right now only customers can participate in surveys, but anybody can learn more by signing up for a 23andMe demo account and visiting the 23andWe home page.