Technology Review recently reported on a new social network that will allow people to compare their DNA with friends and family.
23andme.com is a new social networking site that allows users to submit a saliva sample for DNA testing and compare it with the DNA of friends, family and people around the world to see how similar their genotype is with others.
23andme.com hopes that the unique social network offering will encourage people to get their DNA mapped while, potentially, creating a valuable research resource in the process.
The site will allow users to network with and search for people that share common genetic traits, possibly locating lost family contacts in the process. If the site ever reaches critical mass, it could be a major resource for family tree and genealogy research.
To join 23andme people will need to pay for the $999 DNA testing kit, send in a sample of spit and then receive a personal analysis of nearly 600,000 genetic variations linked to diseases and physical characteristics like eye color, height, hair color and weight.
In addition, the site will emphasize some entertaining angles to personal genomics, including using visualization tools to look at a person’s ancestral lineage and compare it with that of famous celebrities and historical figures.
Advancing the use of social networking, 23andme.com will offer a genome-sharing tool that allows people to compare their DNA with those of family members, friends, and total strangers, who make their DNA information available on the site.
One of the site’s cofounders, Linda Avey, said “It seems like the first natural curiosity people have is, where do I come from? What are my roots? The next question is, how do I compare to other people?”
At this time, the DNA-sharing tool is mostly for personal entertainment. But the site’s ultimate goal is to create a DNA database large enough to reveal scientifically and medically relevant information about a large collection of people.
You can visit the 23andme social network @ 23andme.com .