US regulators have agreed to let a Silicon Valley biotech firm sell the first ever genetic tests to a mass market.
Starting this month, consumers will be able to send a sample of their saliva – and $199 – to 23andMe, to analyze their risk of developing 10 diseases.
Most significantly, the list includes Parkinson’s disease and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
In some cases, the test will be able to give users a specific percentage risk of developing certain diseases.
‘Consumers can now have direct access to certain genetic risk information,’ said Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
‘But it is important that people understand that genetic risk is just one piece of the bigger puzzle, it does not mean they will or won’t ultimately develop a disease.’
23andMe, a private company, had been focusing on providing ancestry information after the FDA reined in efforts to offer genetics-based health information about four years ago.