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Curious About Your DNA? Just Stop By Walgreens

I’ve been writing about personal genomics for years. The standard concept of it is that you can order such genetic tests online, send your saliva or buccal swab to the lab where they analyze your DNA, then you can check online what kind of diseases you have elevated or lowered risk for. That’s how Navigenics, 23andMe or Pathway Genomics works. Now Pathway had a major announcement:

San Diego based startup Pathway Genomics announced [May 18th] that it will begin selling its DNA collection kits at Walgreens drugstores beginning in mid-May, for about $20 to $30. Unlike a pregnancy test, users won’t be able to get results immediately. They will have to send in their saliva sample and then go to Pathway’s website to select the particular test they want. Users choose from drug response ($79), which assesses how well an individual can metabolize certain drugs, predicting the best dosage for that person or whether they will be susceptible to certain side effects; pre-pregnancy planning ($179), which determines whether parents carry mutations for serious genetic diseases; health conditions ($179), which assesses risk for a number of conditions, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, prostate cancer and more; or a combination of all three ($249). The kits won’t be sold in New York because the state’s laws require medical professionals to be involved in this type of testing.

As you may know, I’m not totally against direct-to-consumer genetic testing, but I really would like to see doctors and genetic counselors in this process. I think selling such kits through drugstores can only happen in the U.S. right now. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Take A Look At Your Genes

As I’m doing my PhD in clinical genomics, I’m really interested in the connection between the Internet and medicine. I was happy when Pathway Genomics, one of the newest direct-to-consumer genetic companies, offered me a free genetic test.

After an interview I did with them, I sent my saliva sample back and 3-4 weeks later, I received an email that my results were ready. This is my experience and the things I found interesting. As I got a free test from Navigenics a year ago, I plan to compare these services. I was very interested in the service of Pathway Genomics because of what they analyze:

1) Sampling: It was quite an easy process with only a few papers to fill (though it’s always hard to solve FedEX issues from Europe) and clear instructions. A video about a patient showing the whole process in 1-2 minutes, including saliva collection and filling out the paperwork, would be useful. 

2) Preparations: I liked that I had to complete a questionnaire focusing on my lifestyle and patient history (Your Environment and Lifestyle, The Shape You’re In, and You and Your Family). As family history is the best genetic test out there, so it’s important to use that data while analyzing genetic results. Though, I couldn’t calculate my BMI (couldn’t use kg and centimeter) and the family history application wasn’t working for me. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

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