By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
DNA testing companies like 23andMe and Ancestry
have made DNA testing mainstream, with adoption skyrocketing among consumers.
Meanwhile, health tech startups like Veritas Genetics are starting to push the trend
even further – from genotyping to whole genome sequencing. What’s the
difference? Well, genotyping looks at less than half of 1% of your
genome, while whole genome sequencing looks at over 99% of your genome.
Veritas is betting that consumers are ready for
what’s revealed by looking at more than 6.4 billion letters of DNA and are
promising that the value of that information will only get richer as time goes
on and the science that makes sense of our genome achieves new breakthroughs.
In fact, Veritas is positioning their $999 test
as “a resource for life” and Rodrigo Martinez, their Chief Marketing &
Design Officer who I chat with here, shares a vision for the future that
includes asking Alexa to scan your genome before taking medications or risking
allergic reactions to foods.
This is fascinating proposition for the future
of health (investors are jazzed too, having poured $50M into the company), but
ethical questions abound. How do you make this information useful and
actionable? How do you handle situations where major health issues are reveled?
And what about data privacy? This is about as personal as personal health
information can get. Rodrigo weighs in…