In January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, movers and shakers lined up to spit into test tubes -- the first step to having snippets of their DNA analyzed by 23andMe, a personalized gene-testing company that for $999 promises to help people "search and explore their genomes."
Those wanting an even more complete analysis of their biological inheritance can turn to Knome, a Cambridge, Mass., company that, for $350,000, will spell out all 3 billion letters of their DNA code -- an unparalleled opportunity, the company says, to "Know thyself."
For singles on tighter budgets and with narrower interests, there is ScientificMatch.com, which says that its $995 genetic test will help clients find DNA-compatible mates who will smell sexier to them, have more orgasms and produce healthier children.
This is the world of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, a peculiar mix of modern science, old-fashioned narcissism and innovative entrepreneurialism, all made possible by the government-sponsored Human Genome Project.
More than 20 companies today offer "personalized genomics" tests that promise to help clients discern from their DNA what diseases...