Today’s exciting news is that 23andMe has lowered their test in a goal of reaching a million testers. Not only does this have implications for the medical field, but for those of us involved in genetic genealogy.
Although we see generally around 20-30% of those testing will accept your invitation to share basic genomes, it will still increase our matches. For those of you who have also tested at Family Tree DNA, you can have your 23andMe matches also transfer a copy of their data to Family Tree DNA and do additional testing as well. 23andMe does not test the Y chromosome or mitochondria in the same manner, but they do give you haplogroups for each as does Family Tree DNA. Many of us are interested in adding to our Y-DNA and mtDNA projects so increasing testing from any company can mean future additions to those projects.
The other benefit to this price reduction could be that it will spur other companies to reduce their prices or at least do some great sales. We have to realize that 23andMe has obtained funding from outside sources and other companies may not take that approach so we cannot fully expect a price war.
Purchasing kits from 23andME outside the US does raise the cost greatly as compared to Family Tree DNA's (FTDNA) comparable test called Family Finder. However, understand that the Family Finder test does not deal with any health issues, but gives you the names and emails of the matches you have in their database. You need not ask permission to share genome information as you do with 23andMe. Other features are similar in both companies, although they do vary a bit. For example, 23andMe rounds the beginning and ending positions of where you match people, and FTDNA does not. Each company uses a slightly different set of populations to compare you so your percentage for your ancestral locations (i.e, Middle Eastern, Asian, African, etc.) may vary somewhat. Both companies accurately report your genome results and allow you to download your raw data so you can do chromosome mapping and phasing..
By testing with both companies most of your matches will be different as each company has a different clientele. A few people have tested with both companies. FTDNA allows you to transfer your results form 23andMe to them. 23andMe doesn't take results form FTDNA at this point in time.
These are the costs for the UK for each company:
Family Tree DNA's Family Finder: $199 + $6.00 postage = $205 (+ return postage equivalent to about $2)
23andMe: $99 + $79.95 = $178.95
FTDNA charges a flat rate of $6 for postage anywhere in the world.
23andMe charges variable rates depending on the country. Shipping within the US costs just $9.95, but it costs $59.95 to send the kits to Canada, $94.95 to Cyprus, Malta and Iceland, and $118.95 to Bosnia and Belarus.
It will of course be more cost effective if people order multiple kits from 23andMe and have them sent to the same address.
The press release from 23andMe:
23andMe Raises More Than $50 Million in New Financing
Company Sets Growth Goal Of One Million Customers, Reduces Price to $99 from $299
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – December 11, 2012 – 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced it has raised more than $50 million in a Series D financing. Participants in the financing include Yuri Milner, a new investor, as well as existing investors Sergey Brin, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures and MPM Capital. This investment will help the company achieve its growth goal of one million customers.
The Power of One Million People
Expanding the company’s ability to reach and serve one million individuals supports 23andMe’s goal to revolutionize health and wellness. It also will accelerate 23andMe’s ability to create a powerful platform that enables researchers around the globe to make meaningful discoveries significantly faster than is currently possible. With this expansion, 23andMe, which currently has more than 180,000 customers, will aim to:
• Enable groundbreaking research by creating an exponentially larger collective of actively engaged, genotyped individuals;
• Help accelerate development of new treatments;
• Improve understanding of wellness and disease prevention; and
• Broaden access for people seeking to manage their health and well-being through direct access and greater understanding of their own genetic data.
“A community of one million actively engaged individuals will be transformational for research. A community of this magnitude will improve researchers’ ability to quickly answer questions about genetic function and the role of environmental factors. In addition, it will enable researchers to understand medication efficacy and side effects, in both medications that exist today and medications are that are in development,” Wojcicki added.
Broadening Access: Lowering Price to $99
The Series D investment, combined with rapidly decreasing costs associated with genetic testing technologies, enables 23andMe to reduce the price of its Personal Genome Service to $99, effective immediately. The company will continue to evaluate optimal pricing strategies.
The investment also enables 23andMe to expand the necessary infrastructure to support growth in its research and operational capabilities, including product development, genetic research, software development, recruitment and marketing.
23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company dedicated to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. The company's Personal Genome Service® enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry and inherited traits. The vision for 23andMe is to personalize healthcare by making and supporting meaningful discoveries through genetic research. 23andMe, Inc., was founded in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science. More information is available at www.23andme.com.