23andme genome analysis - $99 today only

by [anonymous]1 min read23rd Apr 201017 comments


Personal Blog

I suspect this might interest some people here: for today only, 23andme is offering their full-package DNA testing for only 99 dollars (the normal price is $499).

23andme uses a genotyping process, which differs from a full gene-sequencing. From their website:

The DNA chip that we use genotypes hundreds of thousands of SNPs at one time. It actually reads 550,000 SNPs that are spread across your entire genome. Although this is still only a fraction of the 10 million SNPs that are estimated to be in the human genome, these 550,000 SNPs are specially selected "tag SNPs." Because many SNPs are linked to one another, we can often learn about the genotype at many SNPs at a time just by looking at one SNP that "tags" its group. This maximizes the information we can get from every SNP we analyze, while keeping the cost low.

In addition, we have hand-picked tens of thousands of additional SNPs of particular interest from the scientific literature and added their corresponding probes to the DNA chip. As a result, we can provide you personal genetic information available only through 23andMe.


I don't have any experience with 23andme (though I seem to recall them having some financial difficulties), but the price was low enough for me to order a test.

An article by Steven Pinker discussing his experience getting tested can be found here. This has also been linked on Hacker News.


17 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 12:14 PM
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Brad Templeton got a gene scan from them, and wrote a couple blog posts about it (part 1, part 2). The posts aren't a review of 23andme, but overall he seems pretty positive about his experience.

For those who missed the chance to buy it: we can perform intra-LW arbitrage to ensure an efficient allocation of test kits!

Simply reply with a price you'd be happy to pay (so below its marginal utility) and we can see if anyone who did order would like to sell on. As people didn't buy when it cost $500, it seems likely there are some pareto improvements here.

I might be interested in buying it. Is anyone here willing to resell it to me and make a small profit?

If yes, please reply with an offered price.

Argh. I'd actually been thinking about getting a 23andme test for the last week or so but was put off by the price. I saw this about 20 minutes too late (it apparently ended at midnight UTC).

Thanks for posting this! I read your post at 4:00 pm PDT, so I made it just in time. My wife and I each ordered a kit.

$100 will probably be the normal price in 5 years or less, but it is fun to find this stuff out.

$100 will probably be the normal price in 5 years or less, but it is fun to find this stuff out.

5 years may or may not be too far out. In November 2007, after all, it was a cool $1000: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/17/us/17dna.html

AFAIC, the current $429 price was put in place in September 2009.

So it dropped >1/2 in <2 years, and from 400 to 100 is just 2 halvings, or ~4 years.

I expect that it will be technically feasible to offer <$100 SNP analysis on 23andMe's current scale (>=550k SNPs), but the determinant will be business factors - what's profit-maximizing? Do they have the resources to scale to demand at <$100? etc.

I think they will (lots of people and equipment being liquidated in the biotech sector will help them), and have made a prediction for during 2014: http://predictionbook.com/predictions/1677

Update: sometime in the past 3 or 4 weeks, 23andMe dropped its price to $259.

2011 has just arrived, and we only need one more halving or a sale to match this prediction! 5 years seems likely to have been surprisingly pessimistic.

Yep, down to $99 on 11 December 2012.

Does that include subscription? I remember that being a serious problem with earlier sales and pricings, it wasn't really $99.

There is a 5 dollar/month subscription fee on top of that, which has to be paid for at least a year after the purchase. That makes the total minimum price 259 dollars (not significantly higher, I concur).

Oh, true enough. I mistakenly thought that the $200 had dropped the required subscription and was why it was more expensive than the previous $120*+subscription offer. I'll edit my comment...

* Or whatever the sale in the past month or two was

You were correct; it dropped to $99 in about 2 and a half years.

I wouldn't buy this for $500, but at $100, the possibility of learning something important is well worth it. I've ordered mine. Thanks for posting this - I would've missed the opportunity otherwise.

What do you think you might learn? I haven't seen very many practical results (as opposed to idle curiosity), except for a few things like lactose intolerance.

EDIT: I've since seen a number of interesting examples - warfarin sensitivity and how well modafinil works come to mind. The latter, since modafinil is pretty expensive, might justify testing at $100 or $200 all on its own.

I got two!

I know a lot about the commercial genetic testing landscape and can answer any questions about 23andme the test or 23andme the company.

Basically, for $99, a 23andme test is cheap entertainment, ignoring any possible utility.

What is the point of getting two?

One for me and one for a parent/grandparent.