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23andMe raises $50M, cuts price to $99, sets goal of 1M genotyped customers (23andme.com)
305 points by joecackler on Dec 11, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 236 comments



In other news, 23andMe introduced relative finder not long ago. I hadn't logged on in over 2 years after I did it with a groupon promo, but I had a public profile with my name and city. A half-sister i didn't know i had found me with matching DNA, owns a business 5 blocks away and walked over to meet me (what's the probability of that!?). Found my dad was not my biological dad and i was from the same sperm donor as my new sister. That was a weird week...


>23andMe introduced relative finder not long ago. I hadn't logged on in over 2 years after I did it with a groupon promo, but I had a public profile with my name and city.

That's scary. Did you explicitly consent to that? It sounds like you didn't...


Yes, you have to consent.


Oh, thank goodness for that.


Only on Hacker News would the top reply to a comment about a person discovering their father was not their biological father be about privacy and opt-ins...


So we shouldn't care about privacy here? That's pretty serious if it was how I thought.


No, he's merely saying that we are more privacy-conscious than the average group of people. I don't think he was claiming that was good or bad, just abnormal.


I read it as "Only on hacker news [insert good thing here]", and I agree with that sentiment, whether it was the intent or not. I think people caring a lot about privacy and issues like that is one reason I really like this place.


No, he's merely alluding to differences between people-oriented and systems-oriented folks.


Are you joking?


Ha, no. And my new sister's husband is also happens to be a phd geneticist.


"Crazy" and cool. I never thought about the connections that could occur through DNA matching.


I'm sure that happens a lot; father is sterile so they use artificial insemination and they never let the kid know; is just that OP is one of the few who later found out.


Yep, that's what happened. Also, procedures were different back then, so we could have many more siblings, hope we didn't hook up in college.


The percentages I've heard are all over the place, but a decent number of children are actually not genetically related to their fathers. (I've heard anywhere between 3% and 30%.)

One theory that's been postulated is that women have affairs to increase the genetic diversity of the sperm that compete for her egg, thereby increasing the chances that her children will have good genes.


> One theory that's been postulated is that women have affairs to increase the genetic diversity of the sperm that compete for her egg, thereby increasing the chances that her children will have good genes.

That would be better expressed like this: > One theory that's been postulated is that women have affairs.

The speculation about the reason for the affairs is just silly. Seriously. This made-up pseudo-evolutionary explanations for things that are so popular really do not add anything. Try it: ask 10 different women who have had affairs what their reason was -- they are real, live human beings, so you can ask instead of just speculating. I'm guessing that 0% of those women will say "to increase the genetic diversity of the sperm that competes for my egg".


If I asked you "Why do you take your hand off a hot stove?" you might say because it hurts. But the fact that it hurts for us when we put our hand on the stove is our genes trying to keep themselves alive, because otherwise they risk being killed.

In the same way, a person might say they had an affair for whatever reason, but really its their genes who want to be able to pass on themselves.

(Edited for clarity.)


Not really. That's a theory and it is one that is hard to disprove experimentally. It is a much stronger theory than evolution, saying that every action is correctly designed to optimise gene transmission. Essentially it is trying to say that we are at a global maximum in a space that is probably more nonlinear. In fact our genes may well be suboptimal in some respects even if you think they have "control". The contortions people go through to try to justify homosexuality as a genetic thing are one example of many. In fact diversity is an advantage in a varying environment so many traits must be suboptimal.


>Not really. That's a theory and it is one that is hard to disprove experimentally. It is a much stronger theory than evolution

This isn't right at all. The idea that our behaviors are shaped in ways that increase our fitness follows necessarily from the theory of evolution. If we believe that behaviors are influenced at all by our genes, then behaviors that are detrimental get weeded out. What's left over was more fit for that environment. There is mountains of evidence that our behavior is affected by our genes.

That is not to say that all behaviors are optimal at all times. For one, our environment has changed monumentally in just the last few hundred years. Behaviors that were optimal back then may not be now. Also, there are multiple levels when considering optimal behavior. Behavior that is suboptimal for the individual can still be optimal for the gene causing that behavior. Homosexuality for example. It may be true that the homosexuality gene is optimally propagated when its in 10% of the population (look up evolutionary stable strategy).

I recently read about a study that claimed the male homosexuality gene when in a woman greatly increased her sexual attractiveness and sexual aggressiveness. When it's in a man it makes him homosexual. I'm sure its too early to take this as fact, but this scenario would lead to a non-zero optimal distribution of that gene in the population.


> The idea that our behaviors are shaped in ways that increase our fitness follows necessarily from the theory of evolution.

This is a misreading of evolution. To start with, we are not optimal. Not even locally optimal. No species is. Who is the optimal human? Is that person alive today?

Second, you haven't considered timescale. You say "get weeded out". How long does that process take? Suppose all behaviors are directly influenced by genes. A low-impact detrimental behavior - let's say a tendency to pick one's nose in public - faces essentially no evolutionary pressure, and so will persist effectively forever. Rather, it would be long enough as to make it nearly impossible to tell if that behavior is a beneficial or detrimental one.

How can you tell that the behavior you are examining increases fitness or decreases fitness but happens to be in the same genome as something else which greatly increases fitness?

Suppose that a subpopulation of humans acquires the 'hunk/babe' mutation and also acquires the nose picking mutation. The first gives an strong genetic advantage, and the second a very minor disadvantage. Over 1,000 years, this subpopulation dominates the overall human genetic makeup. Some researchers then point to the increase in nose picking in the general population and conjecture that nose picking must have conferred some genetic advantage. But this is wrong. Nose picking came along for the ride.

(For purposes of that thought experiment, assume also that the environment is unchanged during that time.)

Third, the coupling between behavior and genes can be extremely tenuous. 300 years ago you could look at European populations and conclude that they were genetically predisposed towards monarchy. Some believed that this was the natural order of things. Where's the gene for democracy? 1000 years ago you could conclude that there was a genetic predisposition towards Catholicism. What genetics caused people to chose that over, say, Zoroastrianism?


Did you skip my second paragraph? I completely agree with your point that observing a behavior now does not imply that it is optimal.

Of course I don't believe there is a "Monarchy" gene any more than I believe there is a juggling gene. These behaviors are too complex to be determined by any given gene. But probabilities and predispositions come into play. Genes that influence behaviors that create predispositions for certain complex behaviors in certain environments will still have selective pressure exerted on that 'ultimate cause' gene.


I object to the statement "our behaviors are shaped in ways that increase our fitness follows necessarily from the theory of evolution."

That is a individual-centered view of evolution. But evolution works on genes, not individuals. Had you said "our behaviors are shaped in ways that increase the fitness of our genes" then I would have agreed.

In your second paragraph, you said "Also, there are multiple levels when considering optimal behavior."

I disagree. There is only one level - that of the genes. If you're a Tasmanian devil and part of you mutates to produce the cancer which is devil facial tumor disease, and that cancer spreads to all of the other Tasmanian devils, and kills off the species, then evolution doesn't care. That set of genes managed to transcend the individual and survive without it. (Which is a good thing since it kills its host.)

Elsewhere in this thread I gave a model where two independent mutations occur at effectively the same time in the same person. One is a big advantage, the other a minor disadvantage. Both together still convey a big evolutionary advantage. This means that the minor disadvantage is very likely to spread into the entire population, because it's part of the same genome as the big advantage.

We see this all the time. As a trivial example, about 8% of our genome is made up of endogenous retroviruses. These are viruses which incorporated themselves into our DNA, and then a host mutation killed them off. They are no longer do anything for us. But our body spends a slight amount of energy transcribing them. No advantage plus slight disadvantage => net negative. Still, the evolutionary pressure to remove those bits of dead retroviruses is so weak that they have persisted for millions of years. We share some of that DNA with chimpanzees, for example.

There was likely never a time when those genes gave any advantage to an individual or even were net neutral, which is why I object to the statement "behaviors that are detrimental get weeded out."

Your statement assumes an infinite amount of time in a stable background - but species live for only a few million years (on average) and the background is always changing, so your statement isn't useful.


Yes yes, I read the selfish gene too. I don't mean that as a slight, as most of my significant understanding of evolution comes from that book. Yes, ultimately its about genes attempting to propagate themselves. But completely ignoring higher "levels" of selection is overly reductionist. It's like saying consciousness is simply chemical reactions firing in the brain. While technically true, this analysis is not at the correct level of abstraction for maximum understanding (also the same reason why we don't program in assembly).

Genes create behaviors in their host organisms. This is a large class of affects that genes have that ultimately exert selective pressures. This is the correct level of abstraction to understand this mechanism. Similarly for analyzing unfit behaviors for an individual that are ultimately fit for the group as a whole, thus the behavior is not completely weeded out.


I haven't read "The Selfish Gene" though I know of Dawkins' views. My original basis for understanding evolutionary thought comes from Gould, and you can see that influence here in my opposition to the view that behaviors have a direct genetic basis. Wikipedia summarizes his (and my) viewpoint nicely:

Gould's primary criticism held that human sociobiological explanations lacked evidential support, and argued that adaptive behaviors are frequently assumed to be genetic for no other reason than their supposed universality, or their adaptive nature. Gould emphasized that adaptive behaviors can be passed on through culture as well, and either hypothesis is equally plausible. Gould did not deny the relevance of biology to human nature, but reframed the debate as "biological potentiality vs. biological determinism". Gould stated that the human brain allows for a wide range of behaviors. Its flexibility "permits us to be aggressive or peaceful, dominant or submissive, spiteful or generous… Violence, sexism, and general nastiness are biological since they represent one subset of a possible range of behaviors. But peacefulness, equality, and kindness are just as biological—and we may see their influence increase if we can create social structures that permit them to flourish."

My resolution to the issue is to take the strict view that biological evolution only deals with genes, and that other mechanisms can be and are better at describing what you've termed the "higher levels" of selection.

The usual analogy is to computers, where software is constrained by the hardware, but still highly flexible. My own analogy is to think of weather. Fundamentally it's based on quantum mechanics, and at a higher level as particle dynamics, but weather forecast models use neither approach because because the minutia of those lower levels -- the detailed collision dynamics of a specific O2 against an N2 for example -- don't appreciably affect the large-scale weather. In fact, non-quantum mechanics can give rise to similar effects. There is no need to consider the effect of the weak force in order to predict tomorrow's weather.

Instead, weather is much more tractably understood as the gas law, along with parameters for "turbulent diffusion, radiation, moist processes (clouds and precipitation), heat exchange, soil, vegetation, surface water, the kinematic effects of terrain, and convection." It's absolutely true that weather is based in quantum mechanics, but it's not true that a quantum mechanics approach is the best way to understand the weather.

And I assert that that is the same for higher level behaviors, including even culture. Yes, there's an ultimate genetic basis somewhere in the depths, but a natural selection model based on genes is a poor instrument for understanding most human behaviors, and the attempts to do so have all had a sense of post hoc justification rather than having good experimental evidence.

Eg, just because certain dynamics models give rise to, say, homosexuality in a population, doesn't mean that those models reflect the actual process which gave rise to homosexuality in humans. It only means that gene-based evolution does not preclude an evolutionary model for homosexuality.

In any case, I gave a specific example of how an unfit behavior can spread to the entire population. It arises through a mutation, and that mutation happens to be in the same genome as another recent mutation which greatly improves fitness. This unfit behavior is both unfit for the individual and unfit for the group, but the negative consequences are so minor that there's little evolutionary pressure to weed it out.

I even gave the specific example of the endogenous retroviruses, which compose some 8% of our genome, which take some energy to maintain, and some of which are believe to have been inserted during a plague some 60 million years ago, though some are more recent. I find it hard to believe that any of those genes were ever beneficial to an individual or to the group, and yet after millions of years they still have not been fully weeded out.

(I do realize that these remaining sequences do not cause overt behavior. About all they do is take up time and energy during cell duplication. But that's still a behavior, and you have not placed a limit as to what evolution considers as a behavior or not.)


Thanks for your detailed response. I originally misunderstood your point, I thought you were essentially arguing a reductionist view of considering genes and only genes. I agree with much of what you have written, although I personally would fall more on the biological determinism side, where our genes constrain our behavior far more than people generally accept. But that's just my personal view and its certainly up for debate.


My personal view is that the belief in biological determinism is too widespread. Up until the mid-1800s, nurses were often men. Nightingale's views played a big role in making nursing a female dominated field, partially justified by saying that women are naturally nurturers. It's all too easy for people to argue that sex-based, race-based, etc. roles have a biological basis, when it's actually cultural determinism. And we know this because things have changed in timescales that aren't possible under a genetic basis. But it's easier to assume things are because they are than it is to change one self and the views of others.

In any case, I think this thread is nearing the end. I thank you for your participation and consideration.


And my thanks to everyone who chimed in. I found it an insightful discussion. A great example of the reason to keep reading the comments on Hacker News.


> this analysis is not at the correct level of abstraction for maximum understanding

That, by the way, is exactly the reasoning I used when dismissing the claim that "women have affairs to increase the genetic diversity of the sperm that compete for her egg". There are various different depths of causality and levels of abstraction at which one could view women having affairs. That particular level is one which provides almost no explanatory benefit.

(Unrelated point below.)

In addition, it may also be wrong. At previous points in time scientists have claimed that there was an "obvious" evolutionary reason why women DIDN'T have affairs. The argument, as I have heard it, states that in primates the male of the species gets the most genetic diversity by having as many children as possible with as many females as possible. But since the female is limited by biology to a fairly small number offspring, she is better served (evolutionarily) by remaining loyal to a single male in order to increase the degree to which he will help provide for her offspring and thus increase their survival rate. (Remember: it's not the number of offspring, it's the number of offspring times their survival rate that counts.)

Of course, this theory was in vogue at a time when lots of people (erroneously) believed that men had affairs but women didn't. MY conclusion is that it's extremely easy to fool ourselves with evolutionary-sounding excuses for social and cultural behavior and that one should approach any such explanation with extreme skepticism.


> This is a misreading of evolution. To start with, we are not optimal. Not even locally optimal. No species is. Who is the optimal human? Is that person alive today?

Optimal refers to having the highest probability of surviving and reproducing in the given environment. Since humans dominate the earth, we are more optimal than any other species of animal.

From a genetics standpoint, the most "optimal" human would bear as many children as possible while still maintaining the earth as a hospitable environment, and minimize all potential risk factors that could harm his or her children. So yes, there is a theoretical maximum for evolution that we haven't reached, but we will likely never reach it.

> Second, you haven't considered timescale. You say "get weeded out". How long does that process take?...How can you tell that the behavior you are examining increases fitness or decreases fitness but happens to be in the same genome as something else which greatly increases fitness...Some researchers then point to the increase in nose picking in the general population and conjecture that nose picking must have conferred some genetic advantage. But this is wrong. Nose picking came along for the ride.

Meiosis randomly splits chromosomes via crossing over, then pulls out one half of the chromosomes (23) to later pair with the 23 chromosomes from the other zygote (sperm or egg cell). After enough iterations this process can isolate genes that increase or decrease fitness.

> Third, the coupling between behavior and genes can be extremely tenuous. 300 years ago you could look at European populations and conclude that they were genetically predisposed towards monarchy. Some believed that this was the natural order of things. Where's the gene for democracy? 1000 years ago you could conclude that there was a genetic predisposition towards Catholicism. What genetics caused people to chose that over, say, Zoroastrianism?

Culture certainly affects behavior, yet humans have sex and produce kids in every culture. When it comes to survival and reproduction, genetics preempts culture when it comes to individual behavior. Democracy isn't an individual behavior, it's a cultural idea. People typically live under whatever government they're born into. Same with religion.

It seems logical that women could be genetically predisposed to desire multiple partners in order to increase the variety of genes and thus enhance the fitness value of their offspring. However, I do not know how you could prove or disprove this idea.


> Since humans dominate the earth, we are more optimal than any other species of animal.

LOL! You are amazingly self-centered. Yes, humans are the most numerous mammal, with rats second. There's 50 billion chickens. By your definition, chickens are more optimal than humans. The nematode populations are measured in up to millions per square meter. With an estimated 1 million species of nematodes, the average nematode species population is comfortably higher than that of humans. There's an estimated one to ten quadrillion ants in the world across 22,000 species, so about 500 billion ants per species, on average. Again, higher than the number of humans.

There are about 1 million wheat plants per acre and 60 million acres planted gives a wheat plant population of over 1 trillion. (It hard to find numbers for non-commercial plant populations.)

But wait! Why look at multicelled animals? Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides melaninogenicus, Bacteroides oralis, Enterococcus faecalis, and Escherichia coli are found in basically every person's gut, so there's definitely way more of each of those species than humans. To say nothing of those species populations elsewhere. It's really hard to find estimates of the total number of a single bacteria species.

Would you care to revisit your statement that humans "are more optimal than any other species of animal"? At the very least you should acknowledge that chickens are more optimal than humans.

> the most "optimal" human would bear as many children as possible while ...

You wrote "his or her children" but you meant to write "descendants." In any case, you are viewing things on the wrong level. Evolution works on genes, not individuals. Humans, like other primates, are social beings. It is part of our evolutionary strategy to help others of our species, especially those we recognize as family. You'll easily notice that other mammals don't all follow the strategy you say is the evolutionary mandate. The naked mole rat is a favorite example; only the queen and one to three males reproduce, while the rest are sterile workers. Why do those workers work if they don't have children?

Some animals eat their own young, or preferentially feed the strongest (hence how cuckoos get others to raise their young) and leave the weak to die if there isn't enough food. These are obvious counter-examples to your assertion that parents "minimize all potential risk factors that could harm his or her children."

In addition, why did you choose a definition of "optimal" based on population count instead of, say, species longevity? Surely the Queensland lungfish, where fossils identical looking to the modern form exist from 100 million years ago, has a stronger claim to being optimal than H. sapiens' scant 500,000 years.

> After enough iterations this process can isolate genes that increase or decrease fitness.

Obviously. My point was regarding the length of time it takes. If "enough iterations" for humans is 50,000 then 1.5 millions years is longer than H. sapiens has been around. Now factor in that most mutations are either neutral or negative, and you end up with a lot of slightly detrimental mutations which last for a very long time. How then do you tell that an observed behavior, with no obvious, direct benefit (like nose picking) is evolutionarily beneficial or detrimental but following along on the coat tails of a more beneficial mutation?


My definition of optimal was in terms of control over the environment. We could kill all 50 billion chickens if we wanted to.

If we want to redefine optimal to mean quantity of genes in the environment, then humans don't come out on top right now, but we could if we wanted to; I am sure that if we desired we could set up a lab to replicate more of our genetical material than any other species has in the environment.

Also, by this definition the most optimal human would theoretically attempt to turn all of the matter in the universe into copies of his/her genes.

A gene for a behavior that affects the number of sexual partners an animal has would likely have been selected for or against long before H sapiens evolved, thus enough iterations have occurred to weed out polygamy in mammals if it was a detrimental behavior. As for your ride-along-nose-picking thesis, I suppose it could be true. Nose picking only recently became a detrimental behavior in terms of evolutionary timescales.


I figured you would say that about chickens. Basically, if you pick a definition which only works for humans, then sure, humans are going to be the winner. You might as well say that humans are the most optimal because they are the only ones to have put satellites into orbit around Mars. True, but not a useful species comparison.

Tell me, can you even apply your concept of "wanted to" to any other species? Which are the most successful fish species by this definition? Could any species of ant ever "want to" kill all humans? If they really wanted to, could they succeed?

As it stands then, your definition is useless, and propaganda for the supremacy of the humans species.

If we go extinct tomorrow - pretend this is the height of the Cold War and WW3 starts, with 50,000 nuclear weapons going off across the surface of the planet - then would an alien observer say that we were a successful species, because of our massive effect on the ecosystem, or would they say that we were a dismal species, which only lasted for a few hundred thousand years?

If we go extinct next year because of a hyper-virulent virus which kills only humans, would you say that that virus is more optimal than humans?

Your answers probably say more about you than provide a useful guide to how to measure evolutionary success.

As to the amount of genetic mutation present, that's just silly. There's 844 million tons of maize harvested each week, with plenty left as chaff. Assuming an average human mass of 65 kg and a population of 7 billion gives 460 million tons of people. Corn DNA is slightly larger than human DNA and plant cells tend to be smaller than animal cells. By the mass or count definition, corn is more successful than humans. There's 651 million tons of wheat harvest each year, but wheat's genome is 5x bigger than humans, so there's certainly more wheat DNA in the world than human DNA.

In any case, you're again too focused on the individual. Evolution only cares about genes, not individuals.

That's why your correct extrapolation - "the most optimal human would theoretically attempt to turn all of the matter in the universe into copies of his/her genes" - shows that that definition of optimality is invalid. Individuals aren't relevant. There's no guarantee that duplicated genes in cloned copies of a single individual are better at survival than having a mix of genes spread across a heterogenous population.

And your last paragraph shows that you don't understand the effect of mutation in evolution. All you are thinking of is the weeding out part.

Mutations occur all the time. Humans have about 0.003 mutations per genome per generation. For every 4000 births, there is a mutation. Few are improvements. Nearly all have no effect or are negative. Suppose one mutation has a really good advantage, and the only child from that person both 1) inherits the gene and 2) has a brand new nose picking mutation which confers a slight negative effect. Then that person's children will inherit both mutations. The really good one is going to spread, and the new, detrimental mutation will also spread -- even though it doesn't help improve survivability!


According to this article (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-12/nifm-sfe12061...) homosexuality is epigenetic and not genetic (i.e. is not related to a specific gene, but to chemical differences that affect the expression of genes).


I completely agree with you. I don't believe that every action is correctly designed to optimize gene transmissions and I think you put it into very eloquent words with: "it is trying to say that we are at a global maximum in a space that is probably more nonlinear."

However, I think that there are certain actions that we take that are clearly defined by our genetics, like the fact that we eat, or that we have sex. And having affairs is one of those.


That we have sex is defined by our genes; who we have sex with is a choice we make by thinking about it, not something pre-encoded by our genes, as you are trying to say.

Which actually makes sense given your premises. A good evolutionary "strategy" would be to evolve brains that can make choices far more complex (literally, inelligently) than what can be pre-encoded by genes that change slowly and mutate randomly.

In summary, you are implying that when you have an affair, it's not a choice, but it's determined by your genes. Thus, it's not a moral issue; you have no choice. Thus, you can justify having any particular affair by claiming "genes," and you should just forgive any particular affair your wife has for the same reason. And I'm saying, no, it's a choice.


A cursory glance at discussions online regarding relatinoships and attraction would show that most people would say they don't decide who to be attracted to, that it simply is what it is.

Just because we can show that cheating has evolutionary benefits and thus people are likely prediposed to cheat in certain situations does not eliminate any moral considerations. Morality is precisely the idea of overriding any base instincts with what we "know" to be proper behavior. Claiming your genes made you do it is no more a loophole for morality now than "the devil made me do it" was before the discovery of DNA.


There was actually a study that showed female rats are more attracted to (read: had sex with) male rats with very different immune systems. The way she senses this is by the pheromone (smell) he gives off and as a consequence, her offspring have stronger immune systems.

In other words, this study suggests at least to some degree we don't even choose who we have sex with. Haha.


The purpose of my comment was to point out that humans have a (sophisticated) brain, something critical that you had overlooked, and you still seem to have missed that.


You argued that "who we have sex with is a choice we make by thinking about it, not something pre-encoded by our genes." I was trying to suggest maybe the opposite is true to some extent by sharing that study regarding the rats with you. Female rats unconsciously have sex with male rats whose pheromones smell like their immune systems are very different, in other words, who they select as mates is something pre-encoded in their genes.

Are you arguing that because we have brains we can 'override' what our genes would otherwise have us do?


there's a lot of stuff that people do that has nothing to do with thinking, and i'd argue that the idea of "intelligent choice" explains pretty much nothing in the context of mating/pairing. example: why are some people of the opposite sex "your type" and some not?


I agree absolutely it is more likely. And I read The Selfish Gene. But how could you disprove that theory? it is sort of too obviously true, if you see what I mean. Which is why I brought up the homosexuality counterexample. So I don't think it should be taken as undeniable, even though it is plausible.


I see what you're trying to get at. You're saying that "x% of children are not genetically related to their fathers because women have affairs to increase the competition for her egg" is a theory, not to be taken as something true.

I didn't mean to make myself sound like that I was saying it was. I was just suggesting something and I agree with you: it is plausible, but it is still a theory at the end of the day.

We're on the same page. :)


I rarely read discussions between 2 people beyond the 3rd or 4th reply, but this one kept me wanting to see how this goes, very well concluded. This is the reason I love HN, quality of discussion is much better than any other place.



Ufff, Eternal September on HN. 10 woman vs Darwin /s


My smirk apparently agrees with you. That pseudo-evolutionary statement reminds me of the mouse-over for this xkcd

http://xkcd.com/685/


Non paternity events in the general population in Western nations occur in around 2% of cases. The higher the SES the lower the prevalence.


The way you have worded it makes it sound like you have put all the blame on women for having affairs ("women have affairs to..."). It takes two to tango, so to speak. In fact, according to wikipedia, men are significantly more likely to have an affair than women (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidelity).

The fact that men are often actively trying to get in women's pants likely has a greater effect on these statistics than women's genes' desire to reproduce.


This was discussed in 'Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors'. I don't remember all the details, but I think it discussed the same research as this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/701286.stm


This kind of rationalizing doesn't sound really serious. Does that not imply that women deceit their partners and are thus genetically predisposed liars?

Also, if she has chosen a partner it means he (and his sperm) are better genetically. If anything, she should be avoiding others' (inferior) sperm.


It does imply that. I know a lot of guys who have gone through a period in their life not being able to sympathize with women after learning about this. They would question why even bothering marrying a woman if she is just going to be a cheating whore?

The second point you make is very interesting and I have the perfect rebuttal. Unfortunately I don't have the book with me right now but a quote from a review on Amazon will suffice:

"And on pages 217-218 [Matt Ridley] explains why women cuckold their mates: "This is because her husband is, almost by definition, usually not the best male there is-else how would he have ended up married to her?" She wants the parental care of her husband and some other man's superior-she thinks-genes."

Here is the link to this book (one of the best I've read): http://www.amazon.com/The-Red-Queen-Evolution-Nature/dp/0060...

And although I haven't read this book (if you do, tell me what you think), I know that it talks more about how x% of children are not genetically related to their fathers: http://www.amazon.com/Sperm-Wars-Infidelity-Conflict-Bedroom...


The theory is that the woman would want the more hearty sperm, but also want the father who is more faithful and more able to provide. It's a sound evolutionary strategy.


How is it sound? Bearing the children of a male that is not a proven provider is more risky than bearing the children of a proven provider (the children will thus be more likely to be providers themselves). The sperm competition would be based solely on sperm motility which is a very poor indicator of evolutionary advantage.


It's not about competition at the sperm level, gene quality as a whole. An individual is attempting to maximize its own genes. So a woman mating with a more masculine man will give her offspring the advantage of having "alpha" genes. But alpha men are not usually strong providers as they have their pick of women and so they spread their genes widely and divide their resources (or withhold them altogether). Thus maintaining the solid provider as the adoptive parent makes up for this. Of course, a man (evolutionarily speaking) has no interest in raising another man's kids. So the woman has to be sneaky with the affair. If the deceit remains hidden, this setup is by far the best the woman can do.

As far as having kids who are themselves not good providers, an alpha man's strategy is usually one of spreading his genes far and wide. If you're desirable enough, that may be a winning strategy for you.


Alpha Males are by definition strong providers, since they get preferential access to food. Alpha females are very picky about who they mate with too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_(ethology)


>Alpha Males are by definition strong providers, since they get preferential access to food

That doesn't follow. The male gets preferential access, but that doesn't mean he shares that access with his offspring. And even if he did, he would still have a larger than average number of offspring thus the amount each one gets may still be lower than the beta male's offerings to his own.

Of course in practice whether the alpha is the best provider is determined by how the community is organized. In a alpha-male-with-harem setup, the alpha is the best provider. In other arrangements this isn't always the case.


What would favor having a proven provider son? A faithful proven provider son will produce at most 6 or 7 grandchildren for his mom, an unfaithful cheat might produce an order of magnitude more.


You might want to give this a read: http://www.salon.com/1999/05/21/evolution/


Your version of evolution is pretty intelligent!


Not sure if sarcastic, but optimized behavior and intelligent behavior will often look similar.


Of course I'm being sarcastic. The person I responded to was spouting evo-pshyc nonsense. Evolution has no "goals" or "strategies". What possible explanation could you have for something like this arising? How would you falsify a theory of its existence?


That person spouting nonsense was me! These "intelligent" behaviors arise through random chance and the successful ones stick around. I'm not sure how one could doubt that somewhat complex behaviors could arise through evolution while at the same time accepting that, say, the eye could. It's the same exact process.

An evolutionary "strategy" is simply a behavior that an organism exhibits to enhance its survival. Don't get caught up in the anthropomorphic terminology, its just a convenience to aid understanding. Dawkins uses that exact phrasing in his books.


>An evolutionary "strategy" is simply a behavior that an organism exhibits to enhance its survival.

You're describing a rather complicated behavior (who's actual existence itself is controversial!) and describing how that came to be. That's just fantasy. There's no evidence that this happened, it's pure speculation. If the behavior even exists, it could have come about some totally other way.

>say, the eye could.

I accept that the eye exists and that it got there somehow. I'm not convinced that the arm chair speculation of how that might have happened is true. If we actually made one that would be stronger but still wouldn't conclusively prove that it happened that way.

>Dawkins uses that exact phrasing in his books.

Dawkins' books are also largely philosophical in nature, not scientific (which is why he gets blasted in the philosophical community, since his philosophy isn't even always sound and ignores tremendous bodies of work).


I swear no one knows a thing about science these days. People are so disconnected that they think "science" only happens in a sterile lab by guys in lab coats.

The behavior of a female mating with a more "alpha" male while at the same time deceiving her mate has been observed in a plethora of animal species. That this behavior exists is without question.

What Evolutionary Psychology does is provide an explanation for a behavior given what we know about evolution, biology, economics, game theory, etc. It is quite scientific. Many EP theories are very much testable, albeit usually impractical. Science is always a game of probabilities and finding the best explanation for an observation given known facts.

>Dawkins' books are also largely philosophical in nature, not scientific

His first (biology) book, The Selfish Gene, which established him as a leader in the field, is 100% science. An Ancestors Tale is also purely science.


>I swear no one knows a thing about science these days.

Funny, I was thinking the same thing.

>What Evolutionary Psychology does is provide an explanation for a behavior given what we know about evolution, biology, economics, game theory, etc.

It provides a guess on what could have happened based on those fields. To be science you need to be able to form theories and for an assertion to be a theory it must be falsifiable. An assertion to explain the modern woman's behavior toward mating in terms of evolution can not be falsified, so it doesn't qualify as a theory. Doesn't sound much like science to me.

As far as I know, you're in a pretty small minority with your claim that Evo Psych is science. A lot of people debate Psychology itself being science, but Evo Psych. Wow, may as well put homeopathy, voodoo and everything else in.

>His first (biology) book, The Selfish Gene, which established him as a leader in the field, is 100% science.

Nice. You imply that I know nothing about science yet you say a book that is largely speculating on what might have happened and why it might have happened is 100% science.


I'm sorry but you're really under- and mis-informed here. Evolutionary Psychology is a bit of a misnomer, it doesn't attempt to explain the mechanisms by which genes act on the mental to influence or create behaviors. It simply provides an explanation for the set of selective pressures and economic interactions that result in certain behaviors. It very much side-steps the question of psychology altogether. It is similar to the behavioral model of psychology in that it studies behaviors (and their likely genetic basis) rather than trying to divine mental states.

EP as a field is very much testable and falsifiable. Take the study that showed human women in economically depressed areas choose more masculine mates compared to more economically well-off areas. An EP theory would be that in an environment of scarcity and uncertainty, it is beneficial to mate with stronger males for the sake of protection and competition. Such an environment could be set up that controls for scarcity of food, level of testosterone in the males, etc. We could then measure the economic benefit of such a mate choice and the resultant improvement in selection fitness. The theory could be validated/refuted based on that. Of course, its applicability to humans would still be in question, but if animal models match the observed patterns in humans, that would be strong evidence in itself.

EP is based on a few assumptions, all of which have a preponderance of evidence in their favor. That genes influence behavior and that gene selection follows laws of economics.

I really don't understand most people's grief with EP. Perhaps you could explain it to me? Is it the fact that its theories aren't directly observable? Well, so is much of every scientific result. Evolution itself has been proven by the massive amounts of indirect evidence in its favor. Do you dislike the fact that EP removes some of our autonomy? Well, science has been slowly chipping away at that for decades. EP simply provides a framework to understand our behavior outside of the (dying) view of pure free-will.

>You imply that I know nothing about science yet you say a book that is largely speculating on what might have happened and why it might have happened is 100% science.

Please, explain to me what about The Selfish Gene is unscientific. If you honestly call the content of this book "speculating on what might have happened", then you either didn't read it or didn't understand a bit of it. The book provided a (mostly new at the time) look on a gene-centric view of selection and provided a framework that better explained the behaviors of various organisms that we see today. It is not speculation: it is informed, testable and falsifiable. Science is a framework for understanding the world; not studies and soundbites. It is a process of refining these frameworks in the face of new evidence and new ideas. E=MC^2 is much more than just the soundbite people have made it out to be; it was an entirely new look at the universe and how matter and energy are intimately connected. It's a shame that the vast majority of people only see it as a soundbite, and as a consequence think soundbites are the entirety of science.


A genetic counselor quoted me ~10%. Any genetic counselors on HN?


Actually they have the relative finder since a long time ago (i think from the beginning?). Also, you have to consent to that, and when i joined they had a warning that situations like these can happen. Sounds to me that in your case, the website delivered on its promise.


Wow - quite a story! After all that, was it a positive experience? Would you do it again?


That can be a great movie plot.


So is your new-found family named Sahashi? </reference so incredibly obscure that I'll be impressed if anyone gets it even on HN>


Is the most obvious question being adressed in any jurisdiction yet? - Do you legally have to disclose your results to any insurance company you already have an existing contract with or prior to any new insurance contract?

By chance, I just read a typical life insurance contract and it already stated that if you have undergone a genetic testing, you do have to disclose your results if you enter into a life insurance contract >300.000€. This was stipulated in the contract and not under general German contract law. If you do not disclose your results, the company can void the contract any time and/or terminate it any time in the future.

This is going to be THE most important issue with genetic testing - the implications for your insurance contracts. Obviously, your test results can have massively positive or negative results.


In the US, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 which covers these topics. Some relevant parts are available here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR00493:

edit: Specifically, "`(A) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this section, a group health plan, and a health insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan, may not adjust premium or contribution amounts for the group covered under such plan on the basis of genetic information."


Note that it doesn't prevent discrimination for life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance; if you get a dangerous condition in your DNA testing you'll never get any of those types of insurance again.

Also note the limitations are not very comprehensive. Health insurers could use genetic info and then find ways to deny you coverage on a technicality (didn't disclose tonsilitis at age 4 - DENIED). There's no civil remedy in the law so it would be up to you to petition the Federal government to carry out some sort of enforcement action against insurers, which seems less than likely.


The coverage for life/disability/long-term on a state-by-state basis is here:

http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/genetic-nondiscri...

While it isn't covered by law in all states (yet), my state restricts discrimination for life/disability and requires informed consent to use genetic information.


Health insurers could use genetic info and then find ways to deny you coverage on a technicality

How could that work once the Affordable Care Act goes into effect? It requires Guaranteed Issue, so insurers can't do that. Insurers have to accept anyone who requests their plan and they can only vary premiums based on age, location, and smoking.


Gender is determined genetically, and men and woman have different life expectancies. Does this mean you can't charge men and women different rates (all else being equal)?


The US bill explicitly excludes gender: "`(C) EXCLUSIONS- The term `genetic information' shall not include information about the sex or age of any individual."


The european court of justice has already ruled that price discrimination based on gender for insurance premiums is sex discrimination and therefore in violation of fundamental human rights.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-11-123_en.htm?loca...


Sex is determined genetically; Gender is determined socially and psychologically.


That is an ideological position, not a statement of fact.


The claim that ideology is separate from fact is an ideological position, so I don't think you are saying much. Do you care to make a claim about why you feel its acceptable to confuse sex and gender?


You can. Insurance spreads risk across population pools. You have to carve out those pools somehow, so you use broad variables like age and gender. The problem is genetic information has potential to make the pools too small.


You don't have to carve out those pools at all. Insurance is workable if everyone is lumped into a single huge pool. The trouble is that a company which is able to break their clientele into smaller pools will outcompete those who aren't, so you get a bit of a race to the bottom.


Indeed. Singe Payer + Universal Coverage = FTW.


And from a payer perspective, it's problematic if a sizable population secretly learns that they are at meaningfully greater risk of health problems. Those individuals could then adversely select against the payers by buying Cadillac healthcare plans.


Since these companies don't determine your sex by asking you to submit a DNA sample and then surmising your sex via genetic information, but rather by asking you to indicate 'M' or 'F' on a form, genetic protections would be unlikely to be pertinent in the vast majority of cases. At least, that's my nonlawyer layperson read of things.


The Affordable Care Act prohibits charging based on gender. This provision kicks in on January 1, 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Afforda...


Tangentially related, I've been wondering if that could affect current gender discrepancies in the entrepreneurial scene (prospect of paying 200-300% more for private health insurance than male counterparts makes it even harder to leave your day job). More female startup founders in 2014, maybe?


That would be the same as charging women different for being more prone to car accidents.


It's very common that young male drivers (by virtue of being grossly overrepresented in accident statistics) have very high premiums.


Actually car insurance premiums do vary based on gender, at least under a certain age (teenage boys being the most expensive to insure).


As far as I know, women in the UK used to pay less for car insurance because they are less accident prone. I don't know if this has changed because of sex discrimination laws. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12600284


What? No. Gender isn't determined genetically. It's a psychological phenomenon. Also, sex can't even reliably be determined by chromosomes. There are things like Klinefelter syndrome, or XX male syndrome (exactly like it sounds).


Sex can easily be detected from the phenotype in most cases.


I think this isnt a good solution. Imagine the following scenario. A disease hits with p=0.001. To cure it is Very Expensive. Everyone gets insurance that covers it.

Now imagine we have a test, that can predict it with certainty. Very soon only those with positive results will want insurance. The insurance against it will become unprofitable and discontinued.


Does the law even matter here? If it's illegal to discriminate, then the insurance becomes unprofitable and is no longer available. If it's not illegal to discriminate, then the insurance can remain profitable by jacking up the price, but then is no longer available to the vast majority of those who suffer from it.

Insurance really only works when either 1) what it covers is truly unpredictable or 2) everybody is required to participate regardless of whether they really need it.


This is the reason why single payer healthcare systems based on residency make economic sense, it prevents this exact situation. We already have this problem to an extent, it's called being elderly.


Insurance is a pretty stupid model for health-care financing, in any case. It's not "insurance" if you know that everybody will eventually need to file a claim.

But that's one of those inconvenient truths that American politics refuses to confront.


I won't disagree (coming from Canada) that the american "For Profit Medical Insurance" system is pretty cold ("You're poor? You get the cheapest possible health care that keeps you out of the emergency room, which you are more likely to land in because you haven't been getting very good medical care.") - but it is insurance. Some people go fifty years without needing it. Some people make claims multiple times a year for hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical care...


Indeed true. And it seems to make an extremely expensive system out of it. But it also manages to do much of the worlds medical research so there are right bits amid the wrongs.


I'm pretty sure the spirit of the law is to prevent those types of situations from happening. Wouldn't this cover your situation?

"`(1) IN GENERAL- A health insurance issuer offering health insurance coverage in the individual market may not, on the basis of genetic information, impose any preexisting condition exclusion (as defined in section 2701(b)(1)(A)) with respect to such coverage."


In insurance, people who get lucky subsidize people who get unlucky. If you can test luck before getting insurance, then lucky people don't get insurance and there's nobody left to subsidize unlucky people.

Forbidding insurance companies to discriminate based on luck does not solve this problem, because the problem is caused by customers selectively buying insurance based on their own luck.

(Clarification: I'm describing reality-as-I-see-it. I'm not trying to make moral judgements on what laws we should or shouldn't pass.)


This is the precise reason for the "individual mandate" in Obamacare. The two provisions only work in combination.


> philh 2 hours ago | link | parent

In insurance, people who get lucky subsidize people who get unlucky. If you can test luck before getting insurance, then lucky people don't get insurance and there's nobody left to subsidize unlucky people.

> Forbidding insurance companies to discriminate based on luck does not solve this problem, because the problem is caused by customers selectively buying insurance based on their own luck.

It's a little more nuanced than that. Let's say men are more prone to car crashes than women. Either you charge men more for auto insurance, OR you charge everyone a flat rate, and the market will rapidly clear itself of all women, since that flat rate will be too high to appeal to women. In this case, you end up with a market that's exclusively men, and women are uninsured.

When applied to health insurance, this means that, if you're forcing companies to insure everyone, they will have to insure people predisposed to expensive illnesses at incredibly high rates, because that's the expected cost of their lifetime care.

One implication of this is that the "no discrimination for pre-existing conditions" portion of the ACA is equivalent to "if you have a pre-existing condition, your coverage will be exorbitantly expensive".

There are ways of hiding this extra cost, but at the end of the day, it's like sweeping dust under the rug: it all has to sum to zero.


There's an easy way to weed out unlucky people. Just randomly throw out half the applicants. (You can substitute any proportion for "half" based on business needs)


> Now imagine we have a test, that can predict it with certainty. Very soon only those with positive results will want insurance. The insurance against it will become unprofitable and discontinued.

That does leave a time when the risk is still insurable: before the test is conducted.

One can imagine it evolving as an additional service that the testing provider may partner with insurance companies to provide. At the time you buy the test, they say "if you pay an extra $X now, you get insurance against us finding anything catastrophic."

(Just idly speculating here, who knows how these things will play out in a combination of regulatory, market, and technology changes.)


But since your parents had the test, and they know your parents' results, your probability of having the (genetic) disease is not exactly unknowable by the insurance company.


You'd have to prove that you didn't already have the test performed, which sounds tough. For example, maybe you flew to Elbonia to get an illicit test done in some dark alley, then came back to the US and retook the test while buying the insurance.


Also, California has put a more stringent law on the books in 2011: http://www.privacylives.com/california-passes-bill-to-prohib...


This covers only lucky ones, who are employed and have access to group insurance plans, isn't it? In this case entrepreneurs who just starting will be screwed.


If you read the bill, it covers individuals as well. I just didn't go copy-pasting the entire gazillion page document :)


Right. But the parent used life insurance as an example, not health insurance.


You're right, life insurance is less regulated and is handled by the individual states in the US. Both New York and California prevent genetic discrimination in life insurance, though.


Not sure if you noticed this on their website. Covers a bit of what has been discussed already but I figured while we are talking about the insurance implications involved we should include the answer 23andme already gives the public.

https://customercare.23andme.com/entries/21262356-could-my-g...


I did a news search to see what researchers are saying recently about the data analyzed by 23andMe. One news article led me to a company blog post by a bioinformatics researcher, Gabe Rudy, "GATK is a Research Tool. Clinics Beware"

http://blog.goldenhelix.com/?p=1534

in which he applied his own industry knowledge to his updated 23andMe report. His conclusions suggest that the product needs much more work:

"I promptly sent an email off to 23andMe’s exome team letting them know about what is clearly a bug in the GATK variant caller. They confirmed it was a bug that went away after updating to a newer release. I talked to 23andMe’s bioinformatician behind the report face-to-face a bit at this year’s ASHG conference, and it sounds like it was most likely a bug in the tool’s multi-sample variant calling mode as this phantom insertion was a real insertion in one of the other samples."

. . . .

"But because GATK has been used so prolifically in publications and is backed by the Broad Institute, it can be viewed as a 'safe' choice. As small labs and clinical centers around the world are starting to set up their DNA-seq pipelines for gene panel and exome sequencing, they may choose GATK with the assumption that the output doesn’t need to be validated.

"And that would be a mistake.

"GATK is as susceptible to bugs as much as any complex software. Their new mixed licensing model (free for academic, fee for commercial) is intended to add more dedicated support resources to the team. I suggest they think about adding dedicated testers as well."

So for those of us following along at home, the crucial idea is that most of the "information" that 23andMe provides paying clients has not been validated. Not only has it not been validated as to correctness of the genome analysis software (the industry scientist's observation), it has even less been validated as a clue to clinically significant disease risk for the majority of diseases that afflict people in developed countries. Pay your money for the service at the new lower price if you like, but prepared to see your personal genome results repackaged and reinterpreted for years to come before you learn anything from them that will help you improve your health.


Interesting article, although I think the author incorrectly blames the software tool rather than 23andMe.

The GATK is a research tool in active development. "Clinics beware" makes little sense because it's not like there is any real alternative (aside from other research tools). This is new territory for everyone. It almost strikes me in the same way as if someone were to say, "Users beware: Linux is a research tool". Whether or not it is a research tool doesn't change that misuse of the tool will lead to poor results.

It's been a little over a year since I last directly used the GATK's caller, but at that time indel calling (the thing that produced this blogger's error) was experimental and clearly labeled as such in loud capital letters.

Also, the GATK does not make one use insane parameters such as allowing variant calls supported by 0 reads; that's the choice of the person running the software...


Thanks very much for your reply.

This is new territory for everyone.

I have developed a habit of liberally upvoting most of your comments on threads related to biology, as I consistently learn from them and see you taking the time and effort to correct popular misconceptions as you participate here. So knowing that I'm asking someone who'll give me a straight answer, I wonder if you could comment specifically on my statement above

"So for those of us following along at home, the crucial idea is that most of the 'information' that 23andMe provides paying clients has not been validated. Not only has it not been validated as to correctness of the genome analysis software (the industry scientist's observation), it has even less been validated as a clue to clinically significant disease risk for the majority of diseases that afflict people in developed countries. Pay your money for the service at the new lower price if you like, but prepared to see your personal genome results repackaged and reinterpreted for years to come before you learn anything from them that will help you improve your health."

I'm heartily in agreement with the idea of doing fundamental research on the human genome and gathering large datasets to analyze to look for genetic clues to human health and disease. I participate each week during the school year in the University of Minnesota "journal club" on behavior genetics, in which a group of scientists (mostly psychologists, but a few mathematicians and economists) who investigate genetic influences on human behavior meet to discuss the latest papers on new research. The overwhelming impression I get is that commercial businesses like 23andMe certainly mean well, and are trying to make available new gene analysis tools to a broader public. But that they are running ahead of their ability, based on current science, to deliver actionable information to the clients who pay for their services. There is still an astounding lack of replicability and of large effect sizes in almost any genome study related to common human diseases or to socially meaningful human behaviors. Much more research needs to be done.


Thanks for your kind words; I feel the same way re: your posts as well.

> So for those of us following along at home, the crucial idea is that most of the 'information' that 23andMe provides paying clients has not been validated. Not only has it not been validated as to correctness of the genome analysis software (the industry scientist's observation), it has even less been validated as a clue to clinically significant disease risk for the majority of diseases that afflict people in developed countries.

In general, what you say here is going to true. I can't comment specifically on what 23andMe claim to demonstrate, because I haven't seen their actual output, but it's usually very difficult to go from genetic data to individual risk prediction. In fact, trying to do so is low-yield-enough that I don't even expect to find individual risk prediction to be interesting for most diseases (at least, not for the next several years). So heuristically I will assert that any claims about individual risk prediction, for most diseases, are unlikely to be clinically important. The obvious exceptions are Mendelian genetic conditions. If they find that you are homozygous for CFTR ∆F508, you're almost certainly going to develop cystic fibrosis (well, you'd probably already have clinical symptoms by the time you get the test).

But a good number of disease conditions aren't (typically) Mendelian. Will you develop heart disease? If you have certain high-impact mutations in the LDL receptor, we might be able to say with reasonable certainty that you will develop heart disease by a certain age. But high-impact mutations are (usually) rare for most diseases.

The majority of what we have been discovering over the past few years are common variants of modest impact (powerful statistical associations but with odds ratios barely differing from 1). When we try to answer questions like, "Why do black Americans have more heart disease in the US?" we don't get smoking-gun mono- or oligogenic answers.[1] Even combining these markers (that are known to be robustly associated with a phenotype) into a single score doesn't do a whole lot more than just knowing the biomarkers that we already measure.[2]

Finally, we have to wrestle with the issue of causality. For example, increased HDL-cholesterol is epidemiologically associated with decreased risk of heart disease. So people say, "HDL is good cholesterol." OK, maybe. My colleagues tested that hypothesis with one single nucleotide polymorphism in a gene that appears only to modify HDL-C levels, LIPG. (Most genes that modify HDL-C also modify LDL-C or triglycerides, and pleiotropic effects ruin your ability to assess a single biomarker.) They said, "Epidemiologically, an X% increase in HDL-C associates with a Y% decrease in risk of heart attack. Also, this LIPG SNP associates with a J% increase in HDL-C. Therefore, based on that J% increase in HDL-C, we expect a K% decrease in heart disease if HDL-C is a causal biomarker." What was the result? The LIPG SNP had the expected effect on HDL-C levels, but had absolutely zero association with your risk for heart attack (the OR was like 0.99 with a CI that easily included 1.0). In contrast, an LDL-C SNP score had a robust association in the expected direction (more genetic variants that are known to raise LDL-C? more heart disease risk).[3]

In other words, is HDL a causal protective factor? It appears that, for at least one cause of high HDL-C, it is not. (This doesn't give me license to dismiss the entire HDL hypothesis and I wouldn't intend to do that without exhaustive scientific work, of course.)

How much of this is out there? Probably tons. It's probably only known by domain experts, or (more commonly) nobody.

So if you're still following this minimally coherent post, we're discovering common variants with very weak effects that often impact biomarkers which may or may not be causal for the diseases of interest, and our view is being revised all of the time.

Is it interesting? From a research perspective, yes, it's awesome. We're finding all of these landmarks in this enormous genomic map. This gives us insight into the architecture of diseases. It gives us smarter therapeutic targets. It helps us evaluate potential therapeutic targets via tools such as Mendelian Randomization to save years of time and billions of dollars avoiding clinical trials that are unlikely to bear fruit (one example of which I discussed above with the LIPG paragraph).

But to an individual alive today wondering about the direct clinical utility of this information? Not today, not right now, not in my opinion. If it's any indicator, I haven't done 23andMe, and if I did, it would be for entertainment purposes.

Will this stuff be in clinics in a few years? Yes, probably. Will it be useful? My guess is that it will be most useful, even then, for research. Eventually there will be clinical significance, but I suspect that the clinical significance will largely go hand-in-hand with the development of therapeutics that have specific genetic targets (e.g., perhaps you have some predisposition to developing cancer, but with your genotype we know that if we give you these 3 tyrosine kinase inhibitors you're very unlikely to develop cancer). I could see that developing.

> Pay your money for the service at the new lower price if you like, but prepared to see your personal genome results repackaged and reinterpreted for years to come before you learn anything from them that will help you improve your health.

Yes, this is absolutely true; there is much more work to be done, and if 23andMe's users are lucky they'll have to keep re-downloading their genomic data as they are updated with new information. If they end up stuck with what we've got now, well, that's stable but incredibly boring.

> But that they are running ahead of their ability, based on current science, to deliver actionable information to the clients who pay for their services. There is still an astounding lack of replicability and of large effect sizes in almost any genome study related to common human diseases or to socially meaningful human behaviors.

I think that there is actually remarkably good reproducibility of the genetic associations with common human diseases, but these are mostly of small effect. A lot of the associations in the candidate-gene/pre-human-genome era do appear to be spurious, however.

1 = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21347282?dopt=Abstract

2 = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845522/

3 = http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-67...


It's a mistake to infer that this means "regular" 23andMe results are similarly affected. The exome project was clearly labeled as a research one and the data was returned with no guarantees whatsoever. The "regular" 23andMe SNPs go through a multitude of comprehensive checks before they are used in reports. Not to say that occasional issues don't crop up, but it's apples and oranges.

Edit: I was the first engineer at 23andMe, so I have a decent idea about what's involved in the analysis and quality control.


"Pay your money for the service at the new lower price if you like, but prepared to see your personal genome results repackaged and reinterpreted for years to come before you learn anything from them that will help you improve your health."

This is precisely the spirit of the project from my interpretation. Increase the data set that is available for trend analysis, and therefore increase the quality and precision of the predictive analytics available.


Just a note, especially for non-Europeans who are thinking of doing this:

I just used 23andme from Canada during the $49 A/B testing. Delivery was next-day, and other than 15ml of saliva being a lot to collect, the process was pretty smooth. They say it'll take 2-3 weeks, but realistically it took them about 4 business days to process my sample.

Unfortunately, almost all the results are for Europeans. There may not be that much of a difference between Europeans and Asians (I'm not sure), but it's worth mentioning. They also don't test for repetition induced diseases, so things like Huntington's won't show up.


> They also don't test for repetition induced diseases, so things like Huntington's won't show up.

In this case, that only matters if your direct ancestors have it anyway. If your grandparents or (worse) parents have it, you probably want to get a different test (if you want to know).


It's a chicken and egg problem. The more people like you purchase the service, the less European it will become. It has made huge strides in the last couple of years, but there is a way to go still.


> 15ml of saliva being a lot to collect

Wasn't it 2ml?


I think one of the most compelling stories as to why 23andme (and other genotyping services) is amazing is Sergey Brin's:

http://too.blogspot.com/2008/09/lrrk2.html

Because of 23andme he found out early that he has a high chance of getting parkinson's disease. He now has the chance to prevent (or at least prepare for) it.


Convincing a lot of very wealthy people (and their families) to get genetic testing could see significant funding directed toward disease prevention and treatment research.


I found a few things to watch out for by using the service. I have yearly checkups with my doctor now to test for a few things I specifically found out about from 23andme. Definitely value the service.


I was bummed to see they won't ship to Maryland. It seems Maryland thinks adults aren't responsible enough to have access to their own genetic data.


Genetic Tourism starts happening in neighboring states?


Will they give my genotype information to FBI or CIA? Will they pay damages if information gets stolen? This is not some passwords or account numbers, this is data about real world which can't be changed.


They will give the information as required by law, such as court order. So yes they will when they are ordered to.

Given the history of the NSA/CIA and so on, they probably will try to harvest all available genetic data they can to help identify people they are interested in the future. Genetic information without an identity can be matched after the fact, probably by more extensive biometric border checkpoints in the next few decades.

See the 'Information Disclosure Required By Law' section: https://www.23andme.com/legal/privacy/


Why not buy a gift credit card, and not use your actual identity to purchase the registration? They don't appear to require any rigorous proof of identity.


It would be trivial to figure out who you really are once enough relatives sign up.


The point is to avoid casual easy association via a name/address lookup, not defend against in-depth analysis from entities that know everyone in real life and in the database.

Plus, you could be an unmentioned adopted-out person, which would look identical, so they couldn't prove it was you without further examination.


Better: impersonate a well-known trial attorney


It's sort of sudo anonymized. I purchased my test in 2010. The account is tied to my email address for login. I ordered the test under just my first name to my office at the time. I also purchased a test for a friend. Other then an email address, that test isn't tied to him in any other way. So while its not impossible to tie back to someone, it's not a perfect 1:1 relationship.


That's your DNA, by definition it is not anonymized, it defines you about as good as possible. You could infer all kinds of stuff about you from your DNA. 33 bits... male, brown eyes, family member in the 3rd degree of 'x', family member to the 4 th degree of 'y' and so on.


With the caveat that you can not predict these phenotypes with 100%:

for example, in humans it's relatively easy to predict eye colour with about 99% certainty (but only if the colour is identified as "brown", "blue", "green" - nothing complicated!), however, skin colour is harder to predict (72% correct in this paper) - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187249731...

People always assume that you can just look at the genes and immediately perfectly predict what's going on with the person in question, but a) people forget about gene/environment interaction (think about human height, only about 5% predictable using SNPs) and b) our science is simply not so far, and especially SNPs (right now the main product of 23andMe) don't predict as much as people would like them to.


Knowing a little bit about the culture of the company, I hope that they will be transparent about any laws they have to comply with, a la Google Transparency report: http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/government...

To my knowledge, this has not come up yet, but I'm sure it will one day.


I had thought HN was mostly free of that type of absurd Reddit paranoia.

The CIA could not care less about your genotype.


If their results are accurate to a degree, why are their tests not being subsidized by insurance companies. How much would an insurance co save by alerting a patient to her chances of getting diabetes, not to mention the money the patient would itself save.


There are really 3 sets of results they provide.

1. Genetic disorder. Tay–Sachs, etc. This stuff is priceless, because in the past, you had to pay thousands of dollars to get these same tests tone. These are accurate and very worthwhile ... but the majority of people will come back with all negative results, which is actually a good thing.

2. Your "increased risk" to certain diseases, like heart disease, etc. IMHO, these aren't worth much. A substantial portion of the risk for these types of diseases is related to lifestyle, so take it with a grain of salt.

3. Fun info, like telling you your eye color, where your ancestors came from, etc.

> why are their tests not being subsidized by insurance companies.

Insurance companies really only want #1. And guess what? That's info that I really don't want them to have.


There's also

4. You're (nearly) immune to an infectious disease. It's good to know when a friend is puking their guts out that I can help take care of them since I'm one of the lucky 20% of white people with wonky fucosyltransferase that won't act as a receptor for the virus.

And knowing (2) lets channel potential anxiety about salt consumption into anxiety about fat consumption, letting me stay healthier on a given anxiety budget.


For #1 if you have any Ashkenazi Jewish blood or suspect you do, it's really worth it for peace of mind. A lot of people say they don't get interesting results, but as someone who is 25% Ashkenazi I was pretty happy at the lack of "interesting" findings- to find I carry only a minor form of hemophilia among the Ashkenazi-related genetic disorders 23andme tracks.


"This stuff is priceless, because in the past, you had to pay thousands of dollars to get these same tests"

You still have to pay thousands of dollars if you need the results for actual medical purposes. 23andme only tests for a few of the common SNPs that can cause each disease, but the testing isn't as comprehensive as what you'd get from a doctor.


Actually there is a startup called Counsyl that tests for about 1000 of those genetic diseases for about $350. I think you have to get it through a doctor though.


> A substantial portion of the risk for these types of diseases is related to lifestyle, so take it with a grain of salt.

In the case of cardiovascular disease specifically, one might not want to do that.


Yes , but wouldn't Nbr 2 in itself be worth a lot if the patient would make lifestyle changes in response to increased risks highlighted in their genetic profile. Suppose you have a genetic proclivity for alcoholism, wouldn't most people watch their consumption a lot more if provided with that information.


But if one is predisposed to alcoholism, they might think, "Why even try to fight it? I'm going to succumb at some point anyway, might as well give up now and just enjoy it."

This is just to say that that sword has two edges.

EDIT: Made it abundantly clear that this is not my own personal fatalistic perspective.


yours is a fatalistic perspective. I would change my behavior if I knew.


This is clearly not my perspective. I'm just illustrating the opposite viewpoint of the one you espoused for the purpose of reminding you that there is an unhappy alternative viewpoint.


predisposed: make someone liable or inclined to a specified attitude, action, or condition.

Just because you're more inclined to do something, doesn't mean you're likely to do something. See the other comment about a 50% increased likelihood moving someone from 1% to 1.5% risk of succumbing to alcoholism.

That said, a lot of people may make the same mistake and succumb to alcoholism erroneously based on the tests.


What you are saying is so true that it becomes almost irrelevant to the discussion. Or, rather, if people understand what you are saying then the rest of the discussion is moot. So the discussion is premised on the fact that many people don't have enough statistical understanding to consider things through that lens.

Let us assume that the absolute risk is non-negligible, and that the predisposition is also non-negligible. Even then, the way that an individual responds to knowledge of genetic risk is idiosyncratic. Some will fight the predisposition even harder, others will succumb even quicker, still others won't know or care.

Because we are talking about the psychology of the individual, and because people do not understand statistics, much less the difference between absolute and relative risk, the fact that the absolute risk for virtually every disease is very small will not matter when an individual considers the issue psychologically.


Oh, ok. Like the other commentor, I took your original comment as a serious argument.


Let's go with your example. Let's say you have a 50% increased risk of alcoholism than the average population.

What does that mean?

If the probability of alcoholism is the general population is 1% ... well, that means yours is 1.5% ... or still ridiculously small.

Obviously those are just numbers I'm using to illustrate a point, but you see where I'm going with this.


While I agree with your general point, the lifetime prevalence of alcohol dependence is rather high; it is estimated to be 12.5% [1].

1 = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17606817


"The heritability of prostate cancer is estimated to be 42-57%." My chance of prostate cancer is 25% instead of 17% for baseline european-ancestry males. I eat even more fruits and veggies and avoid animal fats now.


Category 2 appears to be worthless for me. For many of the risks there, I have conflicting results (i.e., 5 studies were done on this disease and according to 2 of them, I'm at increased risk while the other 3 indicate that I'm at decreased risk).


Who on earth would share their genetic profile with their insurance company? That's just asking for trouble.


The same people who would install driving monitoring devices to lower their auto insurance[1]. Not everyone cares about privacy.

[1]: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/business/seeking-cheaper-i...


It is not just privacy...how about human rights?

"Sorry sir your infant child is not eligible for that heart operation due to the genetic marker we discovered in your profile."


That's not how insurance works now; if you already have insurance for your family, they don't render family members ineligible for therapy based on evidence of predisposition to illness.

And as of 2014, regardless of the nature of the evidence, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to exclude customers based on predisposition to illness or preexisting conditions.


It's not just privacy or human rights; it's an apparently pervasive misconception about what insurance is.

The premise of insurance is that you are insuring against the unknown. If you know that something is the matter with you, then it's no longer insurance. It's getting someone to pay for a treatment that you know you will need. Whether other people should be paying for that is another discussion.


While I think it is important for people to understand the difference between health insurance and a health care plan, there's no actual problem with people banding together and creating health care plans that are no longer, strictly speaking, insurance.

I do think a nontrivial amount of the mess in the health care system is the confusion between the two. People want to create health care plans, but they are trying to make it out of insurance companies, which is going to be problematic at best. Further, people want health care plans but don't want to think about it from an actuarial perspective... because they don't like the answers that come out. That doesn't prevent the answer from coming out, but it does mean we end up trying to build glorious systems that seal themselves away from reality from the get go, and that also can only be problematic at best, total failures at worst.


I think that the more certainty people have about their future medical issues the less likely health care plan groups are to work. What incentive does a future-healthy person have to join with someone who is certain to have high expenses? And why would you trust someone to tell you that they haven't been tested and know what lies ahead?


That's what I'm getting at. The more knowledge all the participants have (and that's both insurance and users), the more the fundamental contradictions between "insurance" and "health care plans" emerge. But closing your eyes and just remaining ignorant is a terrible choice too, because in the medical domain, knowledge isn't just power, it's life.


Already illegal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_Information_Nondiscrimi...

In fact, HIPAA might have already forbidden that. The law wasn't clear but it's entirely moot now.


Why not ? laws could be passed to forbid the use of genetic profiles in establishing premium rates the same way gender or ethnicity are not allowed for use when calculating credit scores. We're talking about a win-win-win (consumer, insurance company, state/ fed) situation for everybody if only we could learn to trust a lil bit. Why does every relationship between a consumer & a service provider has to be rooted in mistrust ? EDIT : Why is this being down-voted ?


> Why does every relationship between a consumer & a service provider has to be rooted in mistrust ?

Because of money.


The law was already passed in the U.S.:

"`(A) IN GENERAL- For purposes of this section, a group health plan, and a health insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan, may not adjust premium or contribution amounts for the group covered under such plan on the basis of genetic information."


This might be the way we're going even if people don't want to share their genetic profile with their insurance company.. what if 23AndMe and UHC (insurance co.) get into a deal where they provide this service for free? And what if UHC raises premiums on everyone that does not take this test? What if employers require their employees to do this much like drug / background checks?


> And what if UHC raises premiums on everyone that does not take this test?

Don't think that's legal.

> What if employers require their employees to do this much like drug / background checks?

Also don't think that's legal.


In which case they could make it a "voluntary" check. Like the shady employers that demand candidates' Facebook credentials.


Sure, and you say no. Just like you say no to the checkout clerk asking for your phone number when you make a purchase. Same way you so no to a cop when he asks to search your vehicle.


I don't disagree, and that is an easily imaginable scenario. But much like the cop they can still make things at best, uncomfortable, or at worst, nearly intolerable, for you. Creating that sort of de facto requirement is where the real problem lies (there's no legal obligation, but most of those vehicle search requests are performed anyway).

We already have employers requesting "voluntary" disclosure of health information (e.g., cholesterol check) as a condition of continuing group insurance coverage. Since it's illegal to require this information, they make it voluntary - but anyone who opts-out also opts-out of a hefty premium "discount". In reality, the "discounted" rate is closer to what employers would expect to pay for comparable group plans, while the non-discounted premium is high enough that 99% of employees line right up to have their blood drawn by the visiting nurse (conveniently stationed in the conference room down the hall).


It depends what you mean by "results". The genetic results are very accurate (a >99% call rate and >99.9% reproducibility rate).

However, medical knowledge isn't at a high enough level for these accurate genetic results to translate into truly meaningful medical results except for a handful of conditions. What does a 10% increased risk of getting diabetes mean to the average person? In practice, it means nothing, because you would act the same with or without this risk.

Second, 23andMe is already walking the fine line of not needing FDA approval. If insurance companies were to pay for it, there's a good chance it would require this. There are several conditions that can be self diagnosed through 23andMe that require genetic tests that cost more than $99 through your doctor, but each of those tests has gone through a medical approval process.


What are the chances my current insurance company has to pay for treatment many years down the line? If I change jobs there is a good chance I will change insurance.


Broadly speaking, because there are laws on the books that prohibit using genetic information for health insurance discrimination.


I paid in at their first $99 discounted rate (2010) and was very disappointed when they tried to demand a non-discounted new sample for newer tests about a year later. If I had paid the full $500 I would have been downright peeved.

Still, I'm glad I did it, 23andMe is a very enlightening experience. I even found some distant relatives I never knew about.


Honest question: Why would you need newer tests? Isn't your genetic code fixed along with all the risks it implies?


23andMe works by testing only a subset of all genetic SNPs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-nucleotide_polymorphism ). It's not full DNA sequencing. The newer DNA microarrays contain a greater number of SNPs that they test for.


They are not mapping your full genome each time. They are looking at specific genes that are known to be linked to certain conditions or attributes. When they release a new test, they are sampling more genes and therefore can find more potential conditions or attributes about you.


They ran an exome sequencing pilot recently, so sequencing is certainly coming.


They do genetic testing, not genetic sequencing. They don't have your whole code.


It isn't entirely fixed, but what's changing are 23andme's tests: both genotyping and sequencing prices keep falling, so periodically they can upgrade the chips they use to ones which either cover more SNPs or improve the error rate (>99.9% accuracy still means a lot of errors on scores of thousands of SNPs) or both.


They aren't giving you the results of a complete sequence ($$$). They are looking for genetic variants. So newer tests will look for additional variants.

See: https://customercare.23andme.com/entries/21262606


I've been considering it too, it feels like as of recently the new findings coming out were done with new SNP's not tested previously. I'm just paranoid that i'll have to keep doing it ever 3 years. For now, i'm planning on waiting until there's a result i'm truly interested in.


> i'm planning on waiting until there's a result i'm truly interested in.

I did it on a whim, then it turned out I carry the gene for an elevated risk of something nasty. Then I was like, yeah, you got my attention now.

Just an example of how you could become "interested in" it post-hoc.


Just think how much worse Craig Venter must feel.


Or his dog for that matter.


That's great. But I'm more interested in plans in the UK to get the entire genotype from about 100,000 people (mostly cancer patients) for research.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20663090)


Damn, I bought it 2 weeks ago!

They keep mentioning the benefits to science, but can you actually access their database as an academic?



You cannot get access to the database as an academic (the privacy-implications alone give me a headache - contact all customers, ask them to consent to research project X, research project X has to contact all people for their own ethics-commitee etc.) - typically you can only access results from one of their studies.

Projects like openSNP however give people a space to voluntarily upload their data for scientists to use.


International shipping cost is pretty prohibitive. Maybe time for lab in Europe?


Totally agree, international shipping just came out at $80~ dollars for me. It certainly killed my excitement pretty quickly but still went ahead with the order considering it was still less than £120 which is pretty much what I decided was my max limit.

I suppose it's half justified as pointed out in the FAQ/Forum the samples regular get stopped and fines levied because they think its hazardous

https://customercare.23andme.com/entries/21262316-do-you-tak...


Why is it so expensive to ship internationally?


Probably clearing a biological sample through customs.


It's also two packages in one - the first one to get the set to you, and the package includes the shipping and package to ship the sample back to the US.


Minor pet peeve: When I'm paying $100 for something, I prefer that shipping be included in the price. It comes across as less of a premium service when the advertised price doesn't include the full standard service.


For those interested, I reviewed 23andMe when it first came out: http://paulstamatiou.com/review-23andme-dna-testing-for-heal... (I always get a nice traffic spike whenever it goes on sale --- I purchased it for some $500 back in the day)


I read that post a long time ago, it was very useful :).


This is kind of funny to me because just yesterday I was talking with someone who said he would be willing to try it if it cost around a $100 bucks.


We weren't talking but I said that yesterday as well :-)


I signed up for their service few years ago, honestly didn't get any useful info. My wife has genetic mutation that seriously affects her health, nothing in their profile is even remotely indicating (that we could see).

Overall I am pretty disappointed with data I received from their service. For example I supposedly have genes that make me risk for obesity, yet I was most of my life very skinny and in recent years gain some weight because I thought it wasn't healthy to be so skinny. So, I wonder what kind of useful into others can get, when we can't even confirm basic info. I also believe (it was a while ago) that color of our eyes was 'guessed' wrong'.


That's not their fault; that's the fault of the state of genetic research. (And of the fact that the heritability of any given trait is not 1.)


Anyone here take part in the Personal Genome Project, and care to share?

http://www.personalgenomes.org/


Yes.

https://my.personalgenomes.org/profile/hu840B0B

My brother:

https://my.personalgenomes.org/profile/hu6A0E65

Also, feel free to ask me to share my full 23andme profile (ancestry and health) to anyone interested.

I was almost 23andme's infrastructure engineer two years ago until my father came down with lung cancer and I had to decline the offer (would have had to move across the country). Still a supporter/advocate of them though. (If you read this Steve, thank you for the opportunity and being willing to take a chance on me. It changed my life and career for the better).


Blog's having trouble with the load; here's a direct link to the press release: https://www.23andme.com/about/press/12_11_2012/



I really wish 23andme would merge with http://www.familytreedna.com/

I've done both, and to be honest, FamilyTreeDNA seems more comprehensive to me.


Would you mind expanding on this?

The genealogical data is one of the main things I'm looking for; 23AndMe has been "OK" and AncestryDNA has just been a waste.

I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to pay for a data import onto FTDNA.


Is there any way to go to a real doctor and get these tests done? It would be very interesting information to have, but I don't trust a startup with it at all.


Yes. It costs 10-20 times more, mind you.


Wow, looks like the announcement was pretty popular, I'm getting a 503!

Luckily I got in during the sneaky "price test" on Cyber Monday at 50 dollars, so I'm good.


At 50 dollars I would have been in right away. Too bad I missed out.


Honestly though, to me it's strange that you pay them instead of the other way around. It's clear that their primary source of revenue will be the R&D they perform on the material obtained from you. It's a bit like a sperm bank that charges money for deposits.


Exactly


They do discounts pretty regularly. Either subscribe to their twitter, or sign up for the newsletter.


With 1 million genotyped customers, they could probably start inferring the genotypes of many non-customers with a modest probability.


Interesting! In the past if you made an account on their site and signed up for the new letter (but never actually bought a test), after a while they would send discount offers. The last one I received was $50 off, but the tota l cost was still over $200. No I have no excuse (cost wise) not to try it.


How accurate are their results for non-caucasians especially non-mainstream minorities like east indians?


Whole slew of startups should look into genetics. DNA sequencing is basically the final frontier of digitalization of the world. Look what happened with text and images, and it's now happening to everything living. Medicine is going to change.


Ok, all done. Ordered just now from london, never mind the 79 USD shipping cost. Next I installed their iPhone app. Shocked to see that it's gamified.


I'm still just not sure I really want to know all these things... it's just low-hanging fruit for any hypochondriac tendencies :/

But, fantastic nonetheless.


I have the same concern, but having no family medical history (closed adoption) makes the new price point rather tempting, despite the inevitable anxiety.


Can this speak to anything regarding Aspergers?



I don't think so, here's their full current list: https://www.23andme.com/health/all/


This is not available in New York due to state laws require them to have certain license.


Just about bought one of these as a gift yesterday --- now definitely getting one!


I just ordered mine today.


I'm still looking for a discount. I think I'd buy at $50.


great news!


What's currently the cheapest way to get a full (99%+) sequencing done privately?




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