By Bennett Davis
Veritas Genetics, a Boston-area gene sequencing company, has reduced the price for sequencing and interpreting an entire human genome from $999 to $599.
For the price, Veritas will not only apply the power of artificial intelligence to sequence your genome but also give you an expert reading, highlighting genetic propensities for 200 specific diseases as well as traits that may lurk in your or your children’s future, such as male pattern baldness.
The company is among the first that sequences all 6.4 billion “letters” in a person’s genetic code. Others offering similar services, such as 23andMe, use a process called genotyping that looks only at specific points in a genome, often examining less than 1 percent of the whole.
If $599 is still too high a price, nearby Nebula Genomics will sequence your genome for $299 or perhaps even for free – if you’re willing to share the results with pharmaceutical companies and other medical researchers.
TRENDPOST: Companies want your genetic data not only to provide a profitable service but also to amass millions of genomes for researchers to sort through to find patterns that define specific diseases, abnormalities, and traits.
That’s a noble goal. But geneticists aren’t security experts.
Veritas reported a digital security “breach” last November, although it claimed no clients’ data were stolen.
Police departments have knocked on genome databases’ doors with warrants authorizing scrutiny of clients’ information in hopes of matching DNA evidence to individuals.
If you offer up your genome to a private company or research organization, get in writing a statement of how your data will be sold or shared, how you can monitor compliance, and be aware that the security of your genetic information cannot be guaranteed.
By Bennett Davis