Razib Khan and Ray Sawhill both alerted me to a special personal DNA testing deal from 23andme.com for $99 plus $60 for a year of data analysis updates (where new research tells more about the half million DNA letters they test). Razib says to get the discount the discount codes are LOYALFAN, HHY6P4, GIZMODO99.
23andme does what is called SNP testing. SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphism. Sounds fancy, right? Not really. SNPs are places in your 2.9 billion DNA letters where people differ from each other. The half million that 23andme test are so far known to be more interesting from a medical or genealogical standpoint than some millions of other known SNPs.
So do they offer practical useful information? For some people, yes. For example, they check some SNPs that are associated with higher risk of side effects from cholesterol-lowering statins and blood thinners such as Warfarin. I think DNA testing for drug side effects will provide a big boon because not only can we use DNA tests to avoid side effects from existing drugs but also when drugs cause dangerous side effects during drug development fewer drugs will need to be dropped from development if a subset of at-risk people can be identified. With genetic tests that identify those at risk everyone else will be able to still use these drugs which otherwise would never make it to market.
I would like to see the genetic testing services provided by companies like 23andme to be used more routinely with medical research studies on humans. For example, I recently reported on how some people get little or no benefit from exercise. If the people who did that study had also used 23andme's testing service on their study subjects they might already have clues as to which SNPs might contribute to those findings.
I expect genetic testing will eventually tell us lots of insights useful for our daily lives. For example, do we benefit from exercise, what kinds, and what kinds to avoid? What about fat versus protein versus carbohydrates or types of fats? Nutrigenomics will provide some answers which will allow us to customize our diets. Also, which drugs to avoid or take? Both the long and short term benefits and risks of drugs depend at least partly on our genetic makeup.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 November 25 09:47 AM Biotech Assay Services|