Genetic Future

Retail DNA tests – personified by personal genomics company 23andMe – have been named Time magazine’s Invention of the Year. The fairly lengthy citation notes that “[a]lthough 23andMe isn’t the only company selling DNA tests to the public, it does the best job of making them accessible and affordable.”

It’s yet more public exposure for the personal genomics industry, pushing recreational genetic testing closer towards becoming a mainstream pursuit.

I note that 23andMe has wasted no time giving the award a central position on their home page and their corporate blog.

HT: the ever-readable Attila.


  1. #1 N/A
    October 30, 2008

    Quote: “more public exposure for the personal genomics industry,”

    This is not always a good thing.

  2. #2 Anonymous
    October 31, 2008

    Its not their invention if they did not think of the idea first. 23andme did not conceive the idea first. So, in my opinion they don’t deserve this.

  3. #3 N/A
    October 31, 2008

    Correct. DNA Direct started way back in 2004. DNA Direct, who runs an ethical, legal, and well respected DTC company. They are the ones who deserve the award.

  4. #4 drsm
    October 31, 2008

    Anon: Agreed. Also iphone won last year even though the mobile phone was invented in the 70s, and youtube won even though video sharing was around back in the 90s. Time is waaay behind.

  5. #5 Steve Mount
    November 8, 2008

    This could be sloppy journalism, or they could be giving the award not for an invention but for publicity (in the U.S.). These explanations are not mutually exclusive, but Time look bad either way.

  6. #6 zay?flama
    November 15, 2008

    Its not their invention if they did not think of the idea first

  7. #7 beerbelliesuk
    November 18, 2008


    Psst, you want eternal life?
    On Sale Now: from Sergey and his wife.
    All you need to do is pay
    For them to own your DNA.

    In return they’ll give you back
    Information that you lack
    Genetic risk for this and that:
    You won’t know what you’re looking at.

    Some of it will be plain wrong
    Or else you knew it all along:
    But you can bet they’ll make it pay
    Now they have your DNA.

    If you’re at risk of getting fat
    You’ll soon be clicking on an ad:
    There’s always something you can buy
    To treat you so you will not die.

    It’s personalised marketing:
    The latest trend, the hottest thing.
    If what they tell you isn’t true
    Read the disclaimer: more fool you.

    Then, when you spend your precious time
    Searching journals, all online
    The more you look, the more you’ll learn
    How long you live depends on what you earn.

    Suddenly you’ll understand
    The science behind the business plan,
    The secret of a longer life:
    Oh yes, they have it, Sergey and his wife.

    Remind me now, why did you pay
    For them to own your DNA?
    When you start to think it through,
    Shouldn’t they be paying you?

New comments have been disabled.