DIY DNA tests go on sale for £125

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Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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A personal DNA testing kit costing £125 has gone on sale in the UK.

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service (PGS) claims to offer access to more than 100 pieces of genetic information about a person’s health, ancestry and family traits.

Users spit in a tube, seal it and send it off to be analysed in a laboratory.

After four to six weeks they receive an email notifying them that the results are ready and log in online to see a detailed report.

23andMe, which has been part-funded by Google, said the tool is not “diagnostic” but includes results of tests for genes associated with inherited conditions such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anaemia.

It also tests for genes that may reveal risk factors for diseases or conditions such as blood clotting, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

In addition to findings about their health, the firm says users can explore the genetics behind why they may be a more frequent smoker, how they metabolise caffeine and their body’s response to diet and exercise.

They can see information about the genetic basis of traits such as hair colour, freckling, height and hair loss.

The service also includes a “full genetic ancestry report” allowing people to trace their family’s genetic roots and “potentially discover and communicate with new relatives”, according to 23andMe.

Chief executive 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 firm says on its website that it is “committed to maintaining the security and confidentiality of your personal information” and has put in place security measures to help protect against the “loss, misuse or alteration of information under our control”.

The service is formally launched in the UK today and is available for £125 including shipping.

Around 10,000 UK-based customers have already paid extra to have the kit delivered from the US. A survey of 470 of those found that 70% of customers found their reports “extremely valuable” and a quarter shared the results with their doctor.

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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