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23andMe Launches Genotyping Service to Help Researchers Incorporate Genetic Data in Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – 23andMe has launched its Genotyping Services for Research (GSR) platform which it hopes will help streamline scientists' ability to integrate genetic data into their studies and give study participants something back for their contribution.

As previously reported by GenomeWeb, the consumer genomics firm has been providing the service in a pilot phase for some time, and the platform has been used to incorporate genetics into studies on smoking cessation, cognitive impairment in glioma patients, addictions, and psychiatric disorders. 

With the full launch of the service today, 23andMe announced it is collaborating with researchers at a number of institutions, including McMaster University/St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, the University of California, San Diego, and Washington University in St. Louis.

After getting IRB approval to return genetic test results to participants, researchers can order spit kits online from 23andMe, and send them to participants' homes or to the study site. After sample collection, 23andMe will process it at a CLIA-certified lab and report the raw SNP data to researchers through an online portal. Researchers can use the portal to manage projects and download data analyzed in real time.

Participants that receive 23andMe's test through GSR can log onto the company's site and, like any other 23andMe customer, view their genotyped results on ancestry, traits, and wellness, as well as their US Food and Drug Administration-cleared carrier status reports. The consumer price for 23andMe's Personal Genome Service is $199, but for GSR, the company previously told GenomeWeb that it will offer volume-based discounts.

According to 23andMe, GSR can be paired with its mobile API for ResearchKit, enabling researchers to create apps for collecting phenotypes from participants that can be studied with genotype data.  

"Typically, research studies don't return any data to the participants. We've enabled researchers to give results back to participants in the form of the 23andMe experience," Ruby Gadelrab, 23andMe's VP of commercial marketing, said in a statement. Gadelrab believes that providing patients access to genetic data may provide "a huge advantage in recruiting."