With the introduction of v2, our next-generation analytical platform, 23andMe customers will have access to an even more powerful set of SNPs we use to probe their unique genetic composition. And thanks to advances by Illumina, the provider of our genetic analysis technology, that information will now be available at the reduced price of $399.I am skeptical that Illumina has made any great "advances" in the less than one year since the launch of the 23andme service. From the press release:
The price reduction is largely made possible following technological advancements by Illumina — a leading provider of genetic analysis technologies — to its DNA Analysis Beadchips, which 23andMe uses to genotype customers. The new Beadchip, called the HumanHap550-Quad+, makes use of a four-sample format. 23andMe also has added improved custom content to the new Beadchip, which will include a broader range of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) variations and rare mutations not found on the previous Beadchip, thereby providing more relevant data on published associations, as well as maternal and paternal ancestry.I think that this is part of a strategy (by either Illumina to sell more chips, or 23andme to sell more tests, or both). The previous $1,000 price tag made the test pretty much a luxury item, as it reveals generally mild associations, which are important at the population level, but not so much for the individual. The new pricing probably aims to tempt more "regular people" to the personal genomics market.
23andme has put a lot of emphasis on 23andwe, which aims to discover new associations in the company's customers by correlating the results of "customer-surveys" with the genomic data. 23andwe is probably very important in the long-term as a source of revenue, since the discovered associations may have commercial utility. But, to discover them, the company needs to expand its customer base, so that statistically significant associations will emerge.
Market economics dictates that more customers will now opt for the test, and I hope some of them will try my EURO-DNA-CALC.