For $80, This At-Home DNA Test Promises to Improve Your Life

It’s like Amazon for genetics testing

By Kirk Miller

For $80, This At-Home DNA Test Promises to Improve Your Life
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04 August 2017

Why are you tired? Why can’t you lose weight? Why do you love boxed wine?

The answers are in your genes.

Here to unlock all your genetic mysteries: Helix, a just-launched “personal genomics” company that peddles more than 20 DNA-analysis products in fields both obvious (ancestry, health) and unexpected (see: your bad taste in wine).

There are other DNA-based services out there (and genetics, and what we know about it currently, can’t determine everything). But Helix only requires a single saliva sample to unlock multiple services. The company collects, sequences and securely stores your saliva kit, so you can reorder from any of the services at any time, all for $80 and the cost of the requested service.

At the lab, your DNA is read with the Exome+ assay, which sequences 22,000 protein-coding genes. From there, the company analyzes the data and provides whatever insights you need. (Independent genetic counseling is also available.)

Some standouts at launch:

Geno 2.0: National Geographic’s foray into DNA not only charts your ancestry, it charts the migratory paths your ancestors followed. You can also learn if you're related to historical geniuses like Tesla or Ben Franklin (note: you aren’t).

embodyDNA: From the makers of the popular weight-loss app Lose It!, this service makes food and exercise recommendations based off of your genetics

Wine Explorer: Vinome (great name) curates wines tailored to your taste preferences and DNA. (Note: We’re testing it out soon, and will have a review shortly.)

Plus, one-of-a-kind scarves and prints based off of your DNA, a service that determines how your genetics affect your sleep, and, coming soon, heart health and cancer scans. Oh, and something called BABYGlimpse, which helps parents “discover, celebrate, and encourage your future baby’s unique potential.” (No pressure, future kid.)

According to Helix, they’re backed by the world’s largest producer of gene-sequencing equipment (Illumina) and they possess a scientific advisory board comprising “six of the world’s leading genomic experts."

You can decide for yourself here.

But we’d say they come from pretty good stock.

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