Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Three Announcements from last week

There were three big announcements last week: Louis Henry Gates has started AfricanDNA with Family Tree DNA; deCode Genetics announced the release of its deCODEme product; and 23andMe announced the release of its product. Only the first product, AfricanDNA has a direct genetic genealogy impact for people wanting to know their ancestry using the current generation of DNA tests developed by FTDNA and others.

The latter two are more oriented toward medical aspects of one's DNA. Each uses a vastly expanded set of SNP tests accross the whole of the human genome. Neither test tests all the SNP sites used by the tests from FTDNA and other genetic genealogy testing companies. Until we see some results from their tests, it is not possible to tell how useful they will be for genetic genealogy.

The medical orientation of the tests is emphasized by the fact that deCODE had to enter into a consent decree in order to be able to off the test in all American states. As it is, eleven states will not allow their citizens access to the medical analysis portion of the results: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

Two questions arise in my mind: Will the deCODEme test be covered by medical insurance; does this mean we can expect to see prices fall for traditional genetic genealogy tests as the labs adopt the large test chips developed by Illumina and other companies?

More news later.

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