23andMe

The $200 Genome

On sale now by Veritas Genetics, but likely to be the list price in a year or two.

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VeritasTest
Veritas Genetics

Veritas Genetics, a relatively new biotech startup, is having a sale on its whole genome sequencing product for just $200 for the first 1,000 customers. The holy grail of genome sequencing has been to get the price down to $1,000, which is the company's current list price. Genotype screening companies like 23andMe check on a list of specific genetic variants amounting to about 1 percent of your genome whereas whole genome sequencing seeks to identify all of the 3.2 billion DNA base pairs that constitute your genome.

Veritas' standard test provides users with insights on the genetic risks associated with more than 200 different diseases including those recommended for reporting by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. In addition, the sequencing identifies customers who carry one copy of more than 40 different gene mutations that, when present in two copies, causes a genetic disorder. Also Veritas' sequencing provides information on a customer's likely responses to more than 150 drugs and identifies more than 50 traits related to nutrition, longevity, and so forth. The company provides customers with one complimentary video session with a genetic counselor to help them to interpret the results.

Veritas CEO Mirza Cifric tells Wired that it's more than just a holiday season gimmick. "We're sending a clear signal to the medical research community that the $99 genome will be here in three to five years," he says. "People might be thinking it's still a decade away. We want to wake them up."

Well, I couldn't wait––I purchased a discounted Veritas test yesterday.

As Philippa Brice at the Britain-based bioethical think tank, the Foundation for Genomics and Population Health, has noted, "Genetic exceptionalism is the belief that genetic information is special and deserving of greater considerations of consent to and privacy of sequencing and analysis than any other form of medical data. In fact, genetic information is for the large part much more innocuous than other forms of personal medical data." Correct.

Since genetic privacy is largely bunkum, in keeping with my full genetic disclosure policy I will let readers know if the test turns up anything interesting.

Disclosure: I have no financial relationship whatsoever with Veritas Genetics except as a new customer.

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  1. A singularly unappealing website. No obvious link on the front page to product, just lots of eye-killing graphics. Even the product link provided has no obvious ADD TO CART. But it does say $999, so Ron must have gotten in early before telling us 🙂

    1. Snooze you lose. From their twitter feed:

      @VeritasGenetics Nov 19
      WOW! 1,000 genomes in just 6 hours. Thank you for being part of the Veritas family and helping us make history! If you missed this special offer, sign up for our newsletter and be first to hear about future promos. Go to http://bit.ly/2PBAWSG #199genome

  2. Is there a way to get the sale price? I checked out their web site but could not find any place to get the $200 price. Perhaps you could organize a Reason discount coupon code?

  3. Where is the “add to cart for $200” link?

    1. E et alia: When I purchased it, I clicked on the standard $999 test and it took me to another page in which it showed the discounted sale price. Before you can buy, you also have to fill out some medical history info, etc. and sign some consent forms. R is right that the website is a bit clunky and process of buying the test also seems unnecessarily complicated, but…the price.

  4. This whole thing is an argument over a fantasy. It is fantasy to think that an individual’s health could ever be explained and predicted by their genes to such a high degree to render health insurance worthless. The entire point of insurance is to pool risk and if your future health can be predicted with accuracy, there is no risk to pool or insure against.

    There is no way that is ever going to happen. And if it doesn’t happen, there really isn’t any downside to people having better knowledge of their genes.

    1. No one said anything about rendering health insurance worthless. The point is to understand risk characteristics and make decisions accordingly. In most things health-related we’re talking about probabilities, not absolutes, so a lot is dependent on lifestyle choices. Knowing the probabilities can help in making better choices.

      Looks like the $199 deal sold out 24 hours ago per the Veritas Twitter feed.

      1. The point is to understand risk characteristics and make decisions accordingly.

        This is, a bit, the fantasy. Sequencing has shown us that diseases highly correlated with familial inheritance and previously believed to be single-gene traits are, in fact, caused by a single gene and exacerbated or ameliorated by a constellation of genetic factors. Certainly, to a degree, you can typify the constellations and generally group outcomes but when it comes quantifying risk and making decisions accordingly it’s more akin to astrology.

        This was largely understood before we sequenced the genome.

  5. I’m a fat libertarian on the internet but what I really want is my genetic sequence for $200 to make sure I stay healthy.

  6. Are they going to entrap my genome with a hidden camera?

  7. Fuck these companies. They are working with government to work around the 4th Amendment.

    I would not give them my DNA profile if they paid me thousands of dollars.

    1. I’m pretty sure we all hope your genetic profile stays in the closet.

      1. Yeah, you Lefties dont want any more challengers to your propaganda.

        Too late.

  8. When you get past a certain age knwoing what genetic risk you may have becomes useless since they have already shown up by about 45

    1. Not all of them.

  9. The eventual goal is make these tests mandatory for everyone so we can weed out all the non-humans living among us.

    1. The Lizard people will hopefully get exposed in the Democratic Party.

      1. You should worry about the Crab People.

        1. I think someone may be sensitive about this subject.

  10. An organization with an angular triskele symbol, asking for your full genetic information?

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Are these the same guys that went after Planned Parenthood?

      1. I’m pretty sure providing abortion services to low-income black people isn’t something these guys would find particularly objectionable.

    2. I am your drill thrall. I have been selected for you.

      1. Hmm. Well, it could be worse, I guess. I suppose I could’ve gotten Vernon Dursley.

        1. How many quatloos to bribe the bald guy?

    3. So you’re saying that when the Illuminati set about to use our DNA to control us, they’re going to advertise it? The pyramid’s eye is winking at you.

      1. No, I was saying that Veritas is clearly a crypto-fascist front company for a privately-funded eugenics venture that is going to use the genomic data they collect to identify and locate people of mixed racial descent so that they can be targeted for extermination, most likely using some kind of DNA-calibrated virus illicitly introduced into breakfast cereal, consumer cosmetic products or municipal water reservoirs. Individuals with some manner of prosthetic limb or facial disfigurement can also fairly be assumed to be involved in some capacity.

        Don’t be stupid.

  11. I wonder if I would really want to know all my risks. Isn’t there the danger that you will worry yourself into an early grave? How much can such information really help you? Will it help you prevent a certain disease? How?

    1. Will it help you prevent a certain disease? How?

      Without knowing your genetic markers, how are you supposed to know which recommendations of regular diet and exercise to pay attention to and which to ignore?

  12. Can I get one for my lawn?

    1. I’m pretty sure there are municipal ordinances against that sort of thing.

      To say nothing of common decency.

  13. “As Philippa Brice at the Britain-based bioethical think tank, the Foundation for Genomics and Population Health, has noted, “Genetic exceptionalism is the belief that genetic information is special and deserving of greater considerations of consent to and privacy of sequencing and analysis than any other form of medical data. In fact, genetic information is for the large part much more innocuous than other forms of personal medical data.” Correct.”

    …for the moment. It is quite conceivable that this information could be used just like any other physical characteristic to spark prejudice and hate. Longer term, gene-sequence specific poisons, allergens, or carcinogens could be developed and deployed. Philippa Brice and Ron Bailey have no imagination.

    1. Longer term, gene-sequence specific poisons, allergens, or carcinogens could be developed and deployed.

      Not cost effectively, especially relative to the cost/efficacy of 124 grains of copper-jacketed lead.

      1. When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have state-of-the-art genetic sequencing thingamajigs, instead.

          1. ^ Cursed with low taste and dubious discernment

  14. Once the cops get your sequence, they can find out that your dad is a rapist. Are you sure you want to know?

  15. Everyone, please, buy this; we’ll need some class representatives in about three months.

  16. Yes, the most likely using some kind of DNA calibrated virus illicitly introduced into breakfast cereal, consumer cosmetic products or municipal water reservoir!

    1. Well, well, aren’t I just so popular

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