dna tests

(Credit: Caroline Enos/Wirecutter)

The number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with direct-to-consumer tests more than doubled during 2017, and now exceeds 12 million according to industry estimates, reports MIT Technology Review. 

The estimate suggests that around 1 in 25 American adults have access to personal genetic data. 

The boom could come from the price war in which companies offered cheaper tests and 2-for-1 deals during holiday discounts at the end of last year. 

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday of 2017, leading personal genomics company AncestryDNA sold about 1.5 million testing kits designed to provide insights into your ethnicity and familial connections. Last week, it announced that it has tested more than 7 million people, in which includes two million during the last four months of 2017. 




The second-largest player, 23andMe, has tested more than 3 million, followed by FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage. 

Savvy marketing through slick consumer channels has unlocked new levels of sales for genetic testing companies. Amazon has become an increasingly important sales channel for both Ancestry and 23andMe in the two years since they began selling in the “home tests” section of the easy two-click shopping platform.

Direct-to-consumer testing has become a valuable commodity for scientists and biotech companies, each hoping to collect enough data to enable better diagnosis, disease prevention and personalised therapies. Only last week, genomics pioneer George Church launched a project where he and his co-founders will give people cryptocurrency in exchange for their genetic data.

George Church: Cryptocurrency Will Boost Genome Sequencing