23andMe Is Focused on Type 2 Diabetes with New Genetic Report

Samara Rosenfeld
MARCH 11, 2019
23andMe

Genetic testing company 23andMe yesterday announced that it will now offer a new genetic health predisposition report on Type 2 diabetes.

Customers will now get insight into their likelihood of developing the chronic condition, which is one of the most common, yet preventable health conditions in the U.S.

23andMe conducted a study using its research data from more than 2.5 million customers who agreed to participate. The company then developed a polygenic score model that drew on more than 1,000 genetic variants to calculate a customer’s chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. The model measured its performance by testing sets of individuals of European, Latino, African American, East Asian and South Asian ancestries.

Aside from looking at genetic factors, the report also tells costumers how factors such as weight, age and lifestyle can influence their chances of developing the condition and what could help prevent or delay the condition’s onset.

“When customers learn about their genetic likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, we believe there is an opportunity to motivate them to change their lifestyle and ultimately to help them prevent the disease,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe.

One in three Americans have prediabetes, and more than 90 percent do not know about it — and the prevalence is increasing — according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And according to the American Diabetes Association, in the U.S., estimates for the costs of treating diabetes are more than $327 billion per year.

Despite genetics, family history, ethnicity and age all contributing to the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, diet and lifestyle changes can delay or prevent the condition.

With 23andMe’s new report, customers will now have more information and tools to make those lifestyle changes. The results could also help facilitate a conversation with a healthcare provider about screening and preventing Type 2 diabetes.

While these results are not meant to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, the insights could provide useful information for customers.

And 23andMe is not the only company focusing on diabetes.

Last week, Fitbit and Solera Health partnered to tackle Type 2 diabetes.

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