What 23andMe is really selling


This week, 23andme, the personalized genomics company founded by Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, got an influx of investment cash ($50 million). According to their press release, they are using the money to bring the cost of their genetic test down to $99 (it was previously $299) which, they hope, will inspire the masses to get tested.

So should the masses indulge?

I prefer a quantified self approach to this question. At the heart of thequantified self-movement lies a very simple idea: metrics make us better. For devotees, this means “self-tracking,” using everything from the Nike fuel band to the Narcissism Personality Index to gather large quantities of personal data and—the bigger idea—use that data to improve performance.

If you consider that performance suffers when health suffers then a genetic test can been seen as a kind of metric used to improve performance. This strikes me as the best way to evaluate this idea and leads us to ask the same question about personalized genomics that the quantified self movement asks about every other metric: will it improve performance.

View the original article here: What Is 23andMe Really Selling: The Moral Quandary At The Center Of The Personalized Genomics Revolution