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Avesthagen Launches Affymetrix-based DTC Genomics Service in India

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By Justin Petrone

Avesthagen this week launched a direct-to-consumer whole-genome scanning service in India.

The Bangalore-based company said it will use the Affymetrix array platform to "decipher the association between SNPs and predisposition to disease." Avesthagen's whole-genome scanning service is supported by an array featuring 1.8 million SNPs and copy number-variation markers. More details about the platform were not discussed.

Avesthagen's whole-genome scan, which will cost $1,000, will provide an individual with information to "understand his or her own genetic make-up that would lead to an increased awareness about the predisposition to diseases."

Diseases included in the firm's service include "major types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, asthma, anemia, arthritis, and others."

The company said that through its service, Indian customers will have access to "personalized genomics services that until now were unavailable." Avesthagen will process and analyze the samples in its own facility.

Whole-genome scans will be carried out on DNA extracted from saliva. Results will be available through a secure web portal within 15 days after receiving the sample, the firm said. The report will consist of a list of the various diseases to which the person is predisposed, along with a risk ratio of the disease occurrence and the association of the disease to the mutation. Further details of the services were not discussed.

Founded in 1998, Avesthagen has engaged in a broad range of activities, from drug discovery to crop research to population genomics. In 2008, the company partnered with Affymetrix to use its arrays in a genome-wide association study of the Parsi-Zoroastrian population.

The ongoing study, called the AvestGenome Project, aims to genotype 60,000 individuals to investigate longevity in the Parsi population. The project is expected to wrap up in 2013 (BAN 3/25/2008).

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