Corporate Genomics and Creepy GeneBook

Posted by Jesse Reynolds October 25, 2007
Biopolitical Times
23andMe may be the most high-profile entrant into the much-anticipated potential market for personal genomics, but it's not the only one. David Ewing Duncan recently profiled it and its chief competitor, Navigenics in the business publication Portfolio. After reading this, David Hamilton at VentureBeat (and formerly of the Wall Street Journal), is skeptical of Navigenics:
If what the Portfolio piece depicts is even close to the truth, however, what these startups bring to market could be far more restricted - not to mention expensive - than most of us have probably imagined.

Let's put it this way: How would you feel about a company that offered to scan your genes, only to lock up most of the information it finds so it can charge you thousands of dollars a year to dribble it back out to you? I'm not sure the term "personal genomics" would even apply here - it sounds to me a lot more like "corporate genomics," in which getting access to your genome would require handing it over to a company that assumes it knows better than you do which parts of your genome you're entitled to see.

And he seems a bit disturbed by 23andMe's plans:

Of course, the idea of sharing your DNA with others via a new online social network - GeneBook? - might seem to many people every bit as creepy as the idea of corporate genomics seems to me.

Read all of Hamilton's piece, "Will 23andMe and Navigenics lock up your genome and charge you for the key?"