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Cheaper Way for Testing

Color Genomics has launched a low-cost genetic sequencing test for breast and ovarian cancer, as GenomeWeb reports. The $249 test examines 19 genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2.

The company tells the Verge that it is able to offer the test for less than similar ones from its competitors — Myriad's test costs about $4,000, though it is covered in some instances by health insurance — because it has automated how family history information is gathered and how variants are interpreted. Color says that its test, though, won't be reimbursable by insurers, and it is starting a program to provide testing to women who couldn't otherwise afford it.

Color's Elad Gil tells the New York Times that the company's goal is to "democratize access to genetic testing." It plans to sell the test through its website, though a doctor will be involved in the ordering of the test and the receiving of results.

The Times notes that the industry as a whole is grappling with variants of unknown significance by building up its database of variants. Myriad, it adds, has kept its database proprietary as a competitive advantage. Efforts like ClinVar, BRCA Challenge, and now BRCA Share, an effort from Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, and Inserm, hope to enable data sharing.