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Mother Jones on the Real DTC Genomics Business Model

Does Mother Jones know that Linda Avey has left the building? I suppose Shannon Brownlee’s article on 23andMe in the November/December issue of the magazine could have gone to press before cofounder Avey’s departure was announced September 4, 2009, and was widely discussed in the genomics community. But even on the MoJo blog yesterday, there’s no acknowledgment that Avey has moved out of the DTC genomics game and started an Alzheimer’s research foundation.

Nonetheless, they run with a provocative quote from Avey on 23andMe’s real business model. Hint: It’s not about helping you understand your genes today. There’s very little they can actually tell you with certainty. What they really want is to sell your genetic data (presumably anonymized) for large-scale research, to researchers and Big Pharma. “We are the broker,” 23andMe cofounder Linda Avey tells Brownlee. “We make the connection between [the drug firms] and the individuals.”

Wonder what Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe’s remaining cofounder, has to say about that.

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