23andMe Offers DNA Testing

Anne Wojcicki grew up as the daughter of a Palo Alto schoolteacher and a Stanford professor and later married Google founder Sergey Brin. Her sister, Susan, runs YouTube.

"I was surrounded by all these famous people and I didn’t know they were famous until I got to college," she told Press:Here

It's not surprising that Wojcicki founded 23andMe, a DNA testing company based in Mountain View, Calif. that sells $99 kits directly to consumers through the mail. Unfortunately, the company was recently subject to the Food and Drug Administration's critical eye and objected to the company being categorized as a standard laboratory diagnostic test.

"The FDA came to us and saw we are a medical device and we need to submit as a medical device," Wojcicki said. "I think there were concerns about that they wanted it to be a medical device and to get that information through the approval process by showing that it had the right accuracy and correct content."

Wojcicki said the company is in the approval process now.

Around 800,000 people have used the company leading to a lot of genetic information housed at 23andMe, including finding people that are blood relatives and judging how much Neanderthal DNA each person possesses (average is around 2.6 percent).

Wojcicki said that a recent Harvard study showed that about half of 23andMe customers took their genetic data to their doctor to change their lives. A predisposition to heart disease doesn't mean one will get it or die of it, so there are ways to temper that genetic curveball.

Wojcicki said that her company also tries to inform people that they may find out things that may be confusing or challenges their perceived identity.

"23&Me’s responsibility is making sure you understand the risk of actually knowing about your health information," she said. "You may find out that you may have this whole conception about your past and it doesn’t match with the DNA."

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