To the Medical Community:23andMe - Letter to the Medical Community
At 23andMe our mission is to help our customers understand their own genetic information and how the current biomedical literature pertains to it. Our service combines genotyping with a set of tools and features that depict each customer's personal information clearly, yet without distorting or misrepresenting our current understanding of how genes combine with environment and other factors to produce human traits and diseases. We also keep our service up-to-date by evaluating major genetic association studies as they are published in peer-reviewed journals, and incorporating them into our service after they have been satisfactorily confirmed.What we do not and will not do is provide medical advice to our customers. Though our service delivers personalized data, the information it provides is tailored to genotypes, not to individuals. Initially, we will have no knowledge of our customers' vital signs, disease histories, family histories, environment, or any other medically relevant information. Thus we have no way of evaluating our customers' health or medical needs, and we make every effort to clarify this for our customers.We also try to impress upon our customers the fact that genes are far from the only determinant of health, and that other factors can play an equal or greater role in determining whether they will develop a particular disease or condition. And our materials explain that the scientific understanding of how genetics may affect disease risk and other aspects of a person's health is changing and will continue to change as more research is done. These caveats aside, we at 23andMe believe that giving personalized genetic information to our customers can inspire them to take more responsibility for their own health and well-being. We also think our tools will serve to educate the lay public about genetics. At the very least, we hope our product will stimulate conversation among doctors, patients and researchers about genes and their role in human health.To that end, we hope you will contact us with your thoughts and suggestions about the role of personalized genetics in your medical specialty (or medicine in general). While we cannot promise to publish every contribution on our website, we will do our best to make sure the conversation reflects a variety of viewpoints and experiences. We also feel that our customers will benefit from this exchange.