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4 open micro-centrifuge tubes being filled by pipet with DNA.

Julie Kennerly-Shah and Summit Shah were dating back in 2016 when they decided to buy kits from 23andMe, the popular consumer DNA health and ancestry company. Like many customers, they were doing it to learn more about their heritage, but also to see if there were any health insights they could act on.

When they got their results a few weeks later, they mostly used the reports to tease each other about who was genetically more likely to have body odor or wet earwax.  

“It was kind of fun to joke around with each other and say that I don’t need to shower, or you need to shower more frequently,” said Shah.

They also exported their data to Promethease, a third-party DNA analysis company that links a person’s DNA report to published research on their particular genes, summarizing the potential medical implications.

Kennerly-Shah, a pharmacist, and Shah, a doctor, were in fact more eager to see what results Promethease would turn up. As medical professionals, they felt equipped to parse the potentially complicated reports that would turn up. The...