Tagged With 23andme

23andMe customers might just play a role in helping create one of Big Pharma's next blockbuster drugs. This week, the genetic testing company announced it was entering a partnership with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop new drugs and therapies. As part of the collaboration, the company will allow GSK to peek at the (voluntarily shared) genetic data of millions of people who have taken 23andMe's DNA home testing kits.

When you mail off a sample of your spit to find out about your ancestry, companies like 23andMe compare your DNA to other people around the world, seeing how closely your genes match the genes of people in, say, Norway, in order to deduce whether your ancestors might have been Norwegian, too.

Earlier this month, when consumer genetic testing giant 23andMe announced plans to roll out the first consumer test for breast cancer risk, the news attracted some hefty criticism from the medical community. Sure, consumer DNA tests allow people to find out information about their health without a potentially pricey and inconvenient visit to the doctor. But without a doctor to help parse the results, some worry that at-home genetic tests may be misleading, inciting needless anxiety or a false sense of security.

My grandfather was caramel-skinned with black eyes and thick, dark hair, and until he discovered that he was adopted, he had no reason to suspect that he was not the son of two poor Mexicans as he'd always been told. When he found his adoption papers, according to family lore, he pestered the nuns at the Dallas orphanage where he had lived as an infant for the name of his birth mother. Name in hand, at 10 years old, he hopped a bus to Pennsylvania, met his birth mother, and found out that he was actually Syrian.

The quest to figure out the right diet for maintaining an optimal weight is often less a quest and more a life-long battle. We cycle through fad diet after fad diet, hoping to eventually one day strike diet gold. Now, the consumer DNA testing company 23andMe is hoping to cut out some of the mystery of dieting, providing consumers with personalised weight loss advice as part of its genetic reports.

Since launching a decade ago, the consumer genetic testing company 23andMe has sold people more than two million DNA tests revealing information about their health and ancestry. Mail-in spit tests, though, aren't the company's long-term plan for striking it rich. On Tuesday, we got a peek at what is: Turning the genetic data from millions of customers into a massive drug-discovery pipeline.

A DNA analysis of nearly 90,000 23andme customers suggests our preference for early mornings may be rooted in our genes. The study also suggests that night owls are at greater risk of depression and other health issues. But those findings come with a couple of caveats.

Genetic testing company 23andMe is back in the business of direct-to-consumer health testing kits, after a two-year semi-hiatus (in the US, at least) from offering health risk assessments at the behest of the US Food and Drug Administration. That makes 23andMe the first such company to win FDA approval for taking its products straight to the consumer, with no need for a physician's approval.

Five years after privacy advocates warned about the potential risks to privacy posed by massive genetics databases, they are, indeed, causing problems. Two popular geneology websites, Ancestry.com and 23andMe, both maintain such databases on behalf of private citizens. Now there's at least one case on record of Ancestry's data being used in a murder case, and 23andMe has seen a few requests too.