23andMe Markets Genome Kits to Researchers

Scientists can now buy the direct-to-consumer sequencing product, and research participants can join 23andMe’s database.

Kerry Grens
Jul 14, 2016

YOUTUBE, ALEXTHEORGANICDirect-to-consumer genomics firm 23andMe is offering its spit-to-sequence kits to researchers for $199. Study volunteers can then join the company’s ancestry database and receive information on carrier status for diseases.

Duke University’s Ahmad Hariri, who has used the product for his research since 2009, gave The Verge a rave review. “It’s allowed us to maintain the highest quality of genotyping research without any need or necessity to have our own laboratory and our own staff,” he said.

While the service may ease the handling of the sample and analysis—23andMe can process kits sent directly to study participants and then give researchers raw genotyping data online—some balked at the price. Dan Arking of Johns Hopkins University told The Verge he typically spends $40 to $50 per sample for similar services through research consortiums that order in bulk.

One of the big appeals to using 23andMe is what volunteers get...

Researchers must obtain approval from an institutional review board to use the kits.