Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abraham's Children in the Genome Era

Beautiful results published here! For the non-specialist, everything explained here (in Newsweek)

Friday, June 25, 2010

I earned a badge

This morning, when I logged into my 23andme account, I found out that I had earned myself a Research Pioneer Badge for my contribution “to the first 23andWe research discoveries” published yesterday in PLoS Genetics, and derived from the DNA testing of thousands of people from the public at large. Namely, from the company’s clients who, like me, consented to the use for research purposes of their personal genetic data and of their answers to one or more surveys.

This is the first time, says an editorial in that same publication, that a human genome-wide association study, or GWAS, is performed based on information gathered through the Internet and stemming from such a population. The study shows, according to its authors, that this approach is not only reliable, but that it also allows the discovery of novel genetic associations.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

DNA swapping at 23andme

A few days ago, 23andme sent emails to 96 potentially affected clients warning them that the lab who reads the DNA for the company had mixed-up their genetic identities and sent them some other persons’ results.

The first sign that there was something wrong was a post, published on June 2nd, in the 23andme community section, by a mother who panicked when she accessed her family’s results online: “He was not a match for any of us. I checked his haplogroups and they were different from ours. I started screaming. A month before my son was born two local hospitals had baby switches”, she wrote. 23andme responded two days later telling her they were analyzing what might have happened.

Mistakes happen. What I don’t understand is that non-affected clients like myself only today learned about this through various blogs, and not directly from 23andme. The company’s response has been overly discrete, and to date, there has been no public announcement from them. It would really help if they were more transparent!