23andMe is testing a $749 “premium” service for deeper health insights, according to several customers who saw a test page for the new product and posted about it on Reddit.
First spotted by CNBC, the company served up a test web page to several customers telling them about a service that would allow them to look at their “whole genome data.” However, when they clicked on the link provided, nothing happened. A few Redditors even posited the notification may have been a mistake as the link led nowhere.
But, according to the company, there’s no error here. 23andMe later confirmed to TechCrunch it sent out a test page to some customers to “gauge interest” in such a product. However, there’s “nothing planned” at this time for such a service, according to a 23andMe spokesperson.
The consumer DNA company charges $199 for its highest package right now, and includes a breakdown of both health and ancestry using all 23 of your chromosomes (hence the name). The cost to sequence your whole genome is currently just under $1,000 so it’s not clear if 23andMe would lower the price to sequence all of a customer’s DNA or if they would offer a comprehensive analysis of a good chunk of your genome.
One other possibility is that the company was exploring diving back into next-generation sequencing, which it abandoned in 2016. Next-generation sequencing was regarded as too complex at the time and the company wanted to focus on a technique that would expedite research efforts as it was cozying up to the drug research market.
However, 23andMe tells TechCrunch that’s not the case, and that it has no plans to get back into next-generation sequencing, instead sticking to genotyping, which offers much richer data on specific traits consumers may be interested in, such as if they’re prone to get fatter than average or if they’re at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
We don’t know if 23andMe will produce this particular product, but we do know the company is thinking up other streams of revenue in the future and, according to the company, working on something more comprehensive than genotyping. We’ll be sure to let you know if and when they can tell us more about what they’re spinning up.