Back in 2007, Google invested $4.4 million in 23andMe, a genetic screening start-up company began by Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and a business partner. But that was not enough of Google’s interest in genetics and DNA, Google has also been investing in a second DNA start-up called “Navigenics” for $2,500 and a small bit of saliva will provide you with genetic test results delivered securely online containing information about the likelihood for 18 medical conditions.
Navigenics aims to help disease prevention by giving customers reports on their DNA screenings that can be shared with their doctors. Amongst those diseases screened for are Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and several types of cancer. Only those conditions which Navigenics have deemed to have had scientifically sound genetic studies are included in the test. Privacy concerns are addressed by encrypting customer identities, and the company will also provide genetic counseling.
If you’re worried about Google having access to both your online searching habits, as well as your genetic make-up, don’t worry, at least not yet. “While Google is a financial investor in Navigenics, they don’t have access to our data…” says Navigenics.
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