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Slower Times

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies are grappling with declining sales, possibly due to factors like privacy concerns and the exhaustion of early-adopter customers, CNBC writes.

In January, 23andMe announced that it was laying off about 100 employees, or about 14 percent of its workforce, and earlier this month, Ancestry similarly said it was laying off 100 people, or some 6 percent, of its staff. At the time 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki told CNBC that she was surprised by change in the market and suggested that it could be due to rising privacy concerns. 

Dawn Barry, the president and cofounder of LunaDNA, also tells CNBC that privacy concerns are a likely factor, as people have become more aware of such issues. Another factor, though, is that there are only so many early adopters, David Mittelman, CEO of Othram, adds at CNBC. He says that the next step might be to sway people who are interested in testing but might not think the information provided is worth the cost. 

But Harvard Medical School's Robert Green notes at CNBC that "a slowdown isn't a stoppage."

"Our research is finding that genetics is about to take its rightful place in medical care for the world," he adds.

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