What is your health worth?

How much attention do you pay to your health? Do you eat well? Do you exercise? Do you smoke? How much do you drink?

How much do you value your health?

How much do you think genetics play a part in your health and how much do you think about the future?

23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, have launched its CE marked Personal Genome Service® in the UK, with more than 100 reports offering health, trait and ancestry information. UK citizens can now have access to simple, affordable personal genetic information to explore more about themselves, including health, ancestry and the genetics behind interesting traits they may share with their family.

Would you value this type of data about yourself and your genetic make up?

23andMe logo

“23andMe’s mission is to ensure that individuals can personally access, understand and benefit from the human genome,” said 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki. “The UK is a world leader in genomics and we are very excited to offer a product specifically for UK customers.”

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service (PGS) is not a diagnostic but includes results for genes associated with certain inherited conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis or Sickle Cell Anaemia. The PGS also tests for genes that may reveal risk factors for certain diseases or conditions such as blood clotting, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, and how your body may respond to specific medications, such as Warfarin or Hepatitis C treatments.

Sound useful?

On top of what you can learn about your health, you can also explore the genetics behind why you may be a more frequent smoker, how you metabolize caffeine and how your body may respond to diet and exercise. You can also learn more about traits such as your ability to detect certain odors and whether or not you are predisposed to be a sprinter or endurance athlete.

The PGS also provides a full genetic ancestry report, so you can trace your family’s genetic roots, and potentially discover and communicate with new relatives as part of 23andMe’s DNA Relatives feature.

Following Research Ethics Committee review and approval, UK customers will also have the opportunity to participate in the world’s largest online platform for genetic research. To date more than 600,000 23andMe customers have elected to participate in research, helping the 23andMe research team identify hundreds of new genetic associations.

The UK is considered a world leader in genetic research and has seen huge scientific innovation and government investment in this area over recent years. The recent launch of Genomics England’s 100,000 Genome project1 (to sequence 100,000 genomes of patients with cancer or rare diseases) made the UK a priority country in which to launch 23andMe to help give all people affordable access to their own genetic information.

Evidence from existing 23andMe customers based in the UK revealed that over 70 percent of customers found their reports “extremely valuable”. A quarter had shared the results with their doctor but only 4 percent had requested additional testing or made a special appointment with their doctor to discuss the results.2

23andMe’s Personal Genome Service was developed with a focus on individual genetic markers that are widely accepted and have been published in respected scientific literature. Information for UK customers was specifically informed by key stakeholders and professional associations in the UK and abroad.

23andMe’s Personal Genome Service is available for purchase at www.23andMe.co.uk for £125 including shipping. All new 23andMe customers in the UK will have access to health and trait reports beginning December 2, 2014. Any existing customers in the UK who purchased 23andMe on November 22, 2013 through December 1, 2014 will also have immediate access to 23andMe health and trait reports for free.

You will get a little kit like this in the post…

Saliva Collection Kit Open

Just follow the easy instructions and spit into the container provided, seal and return in the pre-paid box… easy!

Woman Spitting

Once you register online you will be notified when your reports are ready and then you will be able to log on and find out all sorts of information.

These reports show your results for specific genetic variants that are associated with a higher risk for developing certain health conditions. However, these reports cannot tell you whether you definitely will, or will not, develop the condition.

Note that there are other genetic variants linked to these conditions that are not covered by these reports. Environmental and lifestyle factors can also contribute to these conditions. If any of these conditions run in your family or you think you might have one of these conditions, consult with a healthcare provider about appropriate testing.

These reports can’t give you all the answers BUT they can give an indication of risk factors which means you can then take steps to further prevent these through your own lifestyle choices.

Personally I see this as investing in my future. I value the knowledge these reports give me and I can adjust my lifestyle in line with the results.

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