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23andMe Pledges QC

23andMe took to its blog, The Spittoon, yesterday to provide a public update on the recent sample switch-up at its contracted partner, LabCorp. The DTC firm confirms that "the processing mistake was caused by human error and the incorrect placement of a single 96-well plate used in processing samples." 23andMe writes that, along with their contracted laboratory, they are taking measures to prevent future mix-ups. Namely, LabCorp "has adjusted the mounting process for these 96-well plates and this new adjustment physically prevents any incorrect manual placement of the plates used at this step of processing," and 23andMe will collect basic survey data from its customers — regarding sex, at the least — as "an additional quality check [that] can be conducted prior to uploading data."

Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future, who broke the news from a password-protected 23andMe statement this week, applauds the DTC firm "for responding to this problem, rapidly implementing a solution, and discussing the situation openly," but says that perhaps the company and its lab should consider adopting "more elaborate plate-tracking measures — such as the incorporation of known control samples at different positions in each plate being processed, serving as a kind of molecular barcode."

23andMe says that they've now uploaded the correct data to customers who were impacted by the error.