Over the years, a handful of direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits have come on the market. You take a swab, run it inside your cheek, send it to to a company, and they send back a breakdown of your genes.
But once you have your genes on paper, what do you do next?
One new company, Genos, is producing a more detailed profile for customers and they're giving them the ability to forward on their genetic information in the interest of science and research.
Genos says it returns 50 times more data than other genetic testing companies, and it has the price tag to match: $499. Once you have your profile, you can connect with a genetic counselor either through Genos or through your primary care physician. The goal isn't necessarily diagnostic, said Megan Molteni, who wrote about Genos for Wired.
"You can sequence the data now and as more information comes online five or ten years from now, you're going to be able to go back to that...renewable resource. It can be a tool that you can use year over year," Molteni said.
Genos takes it a step further — it also helps customers sell their genetic data to researchers, leveraging their healthy genetic data to scientists looking for cures, effectively creating a research pipeline, Molteni said. This is new and desirable because most advances in cures and treatments come from genetic information of people who are already sick or in treatment. With a database of healthy people's genetic information, it's possible—Genos contends—to find people who have protective mutations for diseases.
"They're really very forward-looking in thinking about patients being able to own this data and give it back to science," Molteni said.
To listen to the full interview, click on the blue media player above.