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23andMe

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies are searching for a genetic reason for why some people, but not others, become gravely ill with COVID-19, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Data collected from volunteers will be used in a genome-wide association study to better understand COVID-19.

The Helsinki-based firm is making its panel available for free to people who already have been genotyped by consumer genomics services or biobanks.

Drawing from its massive consumer genetic dataset and longitudinal survey data, 23andMe is searching for genetic features that might influence the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Using data for more than half a million individuals, researchers identified 449 refractive area-related loci, including 336 sites not linked to the eye condition in the past.

Some of the market's most influential voices, including Kári Stefánsson and Linda Avey, believe that consumer genomics is not on the way out but rather experiencing a period of transition.

Slower Times

CNBC discusses factors contributing to the state of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. 

CEO Margo Georgiadis said that the company has "seen a slowdown in consumer demand across the entire DNA category."

The FDA has been prodding labs performing pharmacogenetic testing, and software firms providing reports from such testing, to undergo regulatory review.

Layoffs at 23andMe

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing firm 23andMe is laying off about 100 people.

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Nearly 30,000 COVID-19 tests the UK sent to the US came back as void, according to the Telegraph.

Black principal investigators receive less favorable application scores when seeking US National Institutes of Health grants, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

New Scientist reports that both RNA and DNA may have been involved in the emergence of life on Earth.

In Nature this week: new Sperm-seq method enables crossover analysis, tumor-informed detection approach for minimal residual disease, and more.