Category Archives: genomic testing

Green Eggs and Spit

green eggs and ham

“Would you, could you, spit in a tube?
I would not, could not, spit in a tube.”

– Guy Kawasaki (paraphrased)

I just finished reading Guy’s summary of the 23andme Spit Party. It sounded interesting, and kinda gross, at the same time. I guess alcohol has no impact on DNA mapping…

If you don’t already know about 23andme, I’ll let their marketing department explain:

“Welcome to 23andMe, a web-based service that helps you read and understand your DNA. After providing a saliva sample using an at-home kit, you can use our interactive tools to shed new light on your distant ancestors, your close family and most of all, yourself.”

Basically, they claim to be the world’s first Personal Genome Service — at $1,000 a pop.

That price will come down as mapping technologies improve and more services enter the market, but my question is deeper than price. You see, Guy didn’t spit. I’m one of the earliest adopters of tech you can find, but I’m not sure I would have spit — even if it was free (Actually, I probably would spit for free, but it would still take a bit of thinking.)

So, my question, would you spit for a free service that would map your DNA and report your genetic tendencies — given that the tools to change any of those genes don’t yet exist? Would it be worth knowing things that you cannot change? Would it be worth opening the door to insurance inquiries around your DNA? Does it matter to you that Google invested — talk about personalized search? Would you let your kids spit and why/why not?

Personally, I think personal genomic testing will be commonplace in the future. In fact, I’ll probably find myself saying:

“I do so like
spitting in a tube!
Thank you!
Thank you!

So why hesitate now?
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