Similar to the startup Color Genomics that I wrote about previously, today’s startup offers health services tailored to individual customers based on their specific DNA profile. The growing field of DNA analysis allows startups to offer custom health services for those who want to better understand their health, their history and make health plans for the future.
Today we’ll see how genetically fitted solutions can save lives, effort and time. So what exactly does Genos do? Genos offers genetic testing based on a three-step process for customers: DNA sequencing, genetic counseling and research and discovery. The purpose of their service is not only to provide users with custom interventions based on their specific situations but to make sure that users are well-informed about potential risks and treatments.
Their DNA sequencing kit costs $499 is shipped for free and works in three easy steps. The first step is for customers to get informed. The DNA analysis allows them to uncover information about their health based on actual research. The sequencing looks at 20,000 genes that contain 85% of all known disease-related variants.
The second step is for customers to work with genetic counselors to discuss the results of their genetic sequencing. The counselor will help them identify unusual patterns and any other causes for concern. To discuss results, users can speak with counselors in private, one-on-one consultations by phone or video conference for approximately 45 minutes.
Like the results of the tests, consultations aren’t standard, but rather depend on the results achieved by the user. For instance, consultations can be based on reviewing data or explaining which variants are related to health traits. Some customers may just want to meet to discuss the science behind the variant data or receive recommendations for follow-up services after their results have been published. It all depends on what the customer needs and wants at the time of the consultation.
Step three offers the user a chance to change the world by sharing their results with Genos’ Impact Network. Users can also browse studies by research scientists using the database.
By going from consumers to participants, users help advance scientific studies on genetic diseases while maintaining control and ownership of their genetic information. Results of genetic tests are displayed in easy to read formats with a chromosome map that lets users see how their genes map out on their chromosomes.
Many of us who don’t (knowingly) suffer from genetic illnesses and aren’t aware of any genetic markers for disease may wonder about the value of genetic sequencing. Genetic sequencing can contribute towards a general health and wellness plan for users. The genetic blueprint information showing which markers may make users more susceptible to illness are integral in creating a customized health plan.
The cost of their genetic sequencing test and assistance from trained genetic counselors and other health staff is also offered at a fraction of the cost of traditional tests and medical interventions. While traditional sequencing research is considered sufficient at 20x-30x (this measures the level of confidence in genetic variation identification), Genos’ tests measure 125x when it comes to quality coverage meaning their results are far more accurate than what is required for regular tests.
Genos’ test yield 50 times more data than similar tests. This means more opportunities to gather information. The data, raw and analyzed is made available to users in a genome file which can be ported and transferred to various locations and specialists in case users want to keep their own data or get a second opinion.
Their testing kid contains a DNA Genotek FDA cleared saliva sample collection kit and the results are analyzed using Illumina Next Generation Sequencing technology (NGS) and open source tools to analyze the results.
At this time customers still do have to receive a physician’s authorization for the kit to be ordered. This must occur within 90 days of placing the order. Physicians can contact Genos directly to place the request. In this regard, Genos is similar to Color Genomics, which also requires a doctor’s note to request. If users aren’t deterred by the cost or need for a doctor’s note Genos’ kits could ring in a new chapter for disease treatment.
Whether a user is conscious of their health risks due to a history of genetic illness or whether they just want to gauge their risks when it comes to genetic markers for heart disease or chronic illness, customized health solutions are important. The more we begin to understand the implication of factors in disease development outside of our control the more we will need health interventions designed to track and understand how various factors contribute to disease development.