23andMe Looks Back One More Time

In honor of the Chinese New Year, we’re taking one last look at the genetic milestones of 2013.

From a Supreme Court ruling on patenting genes, to Angelina Jolie’s bold revelations about her genetic risk for breast cancer, to the FDA ordering 23andMe to stop offering health results pending a regulatory review  — 2013, and the Year of The Snake was filled with notable news in genetics.

So take a look back at last year with us and prepare for another galloping year in the world of genetic science in this, the Year of The Horse.


  • Meg

    Happy Chinese New Year! I support you 23andme. 2013 is an eventful year indeed especially in the realm of genetic testing. I, along with millions of consumers, hope that 23andme will be able to continue its service in health related testings to the consumers. Those who got their health results before the FDA ban are so lucky. Hope someday I could join them. FDA shouldn’t take away our rights on finding out information about ourselves.

  • Laura Henze Russell

    2014 is the year we will ban dental mercury and make strides to reduce chronic diseases! Time to catch up with the rest of the world on this. Please sign and share this petition for a Surgeon General Report on Dental Amalgam and Mercury Health Risks far and wide!

  • YourNameHere

    How does the FDA ruling prohibit those from outside the US from obtaining health info from 23andme?

  • Jcan1

    Everyone at 23andme must be excited now that Illumina has achieved the $1,000 full genome scan. The labs that stepped up with $10 million now need to book 20,000 genomes per year on their HiSeq X Ten sequencers. 23andme customers would probably make a good market for these labs, if they had spare capacity. When might 23andme consider offering a $1,000 full genome scan?

  • Scott23H

    Just for the record, 23andMe has never flaunted the law.
    We are fully vested in the process with government regulators and we stand by the accuracy of our testing. We also believe the FDA has a role in regulating the industry. At the same time this is new. We are the first non-diagnostic direct-to-consumer genetic testing company to go through this regulatory process. A process that was designed for traditional medical devices.

  • Jcan1

    It would be really great if 23andme offered an Exome SNP gene chip service. Even though many of these mutations are quite rare (down to .01%), they are the mutations that likely have functional significance. Half a million exome missense SNPs for $100 would be a great product for 23andme to offer.

    Here is another product suggestion: full chromosome sequencing for $100. Many people might not be ready yet to pay $1000 for the full genome scan, though $100 to sequence 1 chromosome sounds reasonable.

    • Scott23H

      Thank you for the suggestions. We did a pilot Exome project a few years ago. We’ve also done some work around sequencing, but we haven’t yet made a decisions on those fronts. I’ll pass on your ideas.

  • Becky mccurdy cusic

    Please explain how the FDA ruling makes a difference with new 23andme consumers …
    This is very important to me but I don’t understand how the change will affect the the people who not yet taken the test..??

    • Scott23H

      New customers will only get access to their ancestry results and their raw data. We are still in the regulatory process with the FDA. We do not have a timeline for how long it will take or what the results will be. If you are purchasing now, you should understand that you will not be have access to health results.

      • Becky mccurdy cusic

        Ty for your response but I feel as though I have lost all hope. I’m not trying to bad mouth the FDA but I know, with my health issues I will never have the information and understanding I need so very much. Ty

  • Becky mccurdy cusic

    What does in mean to stop offering health related genetics report? Does this mean that new 23andme consumers will be given less information?

    • Scott23H

      For customers who purchased after the November 22nd letter from the FDA, they will not receive health results. We cannot give new customers health results until we complete a regulator review process that is now going on with the FDA.
      So that means that customers who purchased after the 22nd will only get ancestry related results and access to their raw data. Customers who purchased before the 22nd will continue to get the same results, which include both health and ancestry.

  • Jcan1

    Recent research has uncovered a way of extracting more information from genome studies
    by adding subjects from other sources into the analysis. Such an approach could detect more of the signal present in all genetic studies.

    Might 23andme consider participating in such research?

    This line of research has some bearing on the recent FDA decision concerning the marketing of genome testing. Specifically, by limiting the growth of genomic data sets (for example 23andme), the FDA policy will reduce the power of this new technique to uncover the genetic basis of all diseases. This should be of concern to anyone interested in how genetics influence disease risk (that is everyone).

  • Scott23H

    We do moderate comments and try and do so withing a day of when they are posted.

  • Scott23H

    We can do imputation and we do when it is part of our research work, but what you’re asking is for a very technical and detailed help to do that yourself which is outside of our offerings to customers. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  • Jcan1

    If one’s relatives on 23andme had their genomes sequenced and uploaded the results onto 23andme, then could one impute one’s genome from such results?

    If so, this would be a valuable service for 23andme to offer.

    This might be even more helpful if several close relatives were sequenced and if a gene chip were used to confirm the results.

  • Jcan1

    The World Community Grid is one of the world’s largest distributed computing projects.
    Their mandate is to help humanity by providing massive computational power to solve medically and socially important problems.

    One such medically important problem is genetic imputation.

    According to the rules of the World Community Grid, applications must be submitted by recognized research organizations.

    Might 23andme submit a proposal to the World Community Grid for an imputation project on behalf of the more than 500,000 customers of 23andme and others who might be interested in imputation?

  • Jcan1

    I am interested in having my exome sequenced through another genomics company.
    I need an Oragene saliva kit (the same one that 23andme uses). The information provided in the 23andme shipping documentation would also be helpful for me,
    as it would give me some guidance on how to properly describe the nature of my

    Might 23andme sell me the saliva kit or provide the url for an online store that sells this product? Further, might you provide the shipping information?

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