Cheaper genomics is here, and it comes with an app.

This month Boston-based startup Veritas Genetics began taking orders for its myGenome service, a $999 genome sequence that delivers interpretation direct to users’ smartphones.

The $1000 genome is considered by many to be the price point that opens the door for widespread uptake of personalised medicine. While Illumina’s HiSeq X Ten sequencer was among the first machines to deliver whole genome sequences for under the magic number, wrangling the costs of mining that information for medical insights has proved much trickier. Veritas first announced their assault on the $1000 genome in September 2015, through a partnership with the Personal Genome Project (PGP).

“The whole genome is the new standard. At this price point, there is no reason to use anything but the whole genome, especially for any tests that are close to or more than the price of our whole genome,” says Mirza Cifric, CEO and co-founder of Veritas Genetics. “The whole genome is the foundation of precision medicine and a lifetime resource to maximize quality of life and longevity.”

Numerous companies out there scrambling to combine that reduced genome price point with direct-to-consumer delivery of results. But the road to a functional direct-to-consumer model has not run smoothly. In 2013 the US FDA ordered 23andMe to stop providing medical advice based upon its sequencing services. After two years the company was cleared to offer reports identifying specific, clinically-relevant gene variants.

Customers for the myGenome service will need a doctor’s approval prior to sequencing, a condition of FDA approval. Through the smartphone app Veritas will include access to genetic counselling and clinical follow-up services as part of the myGenome package.

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