Nancy Ledbetter, Research Analyst

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Life-Altering Information, or Just For Fun?

Posted by Nancy Ledbetter, Research Analyst on August 22, 2017

Helix, a company formed by Illumina in 2015, has drawn a new section on the blurry line between healthcare and entertainment using direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests. For the surprisingly low price of $80, Helix will sequence a person’s exome, using the same Illumina machines most researchers use. After a one-time saliva submission, Helix clients can choose from a menu of existing analyses from outside vendors that vary from < $100 to about $250. Currently, the Helix website lists 19 different options for clients to learn about their DNA. They include one that uses DNA information to inform which wines are likely to be appealing and another for learning carrier status for a host of mutations that are associated with disease (e.g., cystic fibrosis) for future children if both parents are carriers. As Helix adds more vendors, clients will have the opportunity to order additional analyses to learn more information around their genetic make-up.

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Topics: Hayes Blog, Healthcare Evidence, Genetic Testing, Consumers

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