DNA screening utilised to be prohibitively expensive for the typical shopper, but providers like 23andMe have built DNA screening kits an impulse get. After making the most of decades of modest development, 23andMe has found its product sales fall in the latest quarters. CEO Anne Wojcicki confirms the organization is laying off 100 folks, or about 14 percent of its workforce. She speculates privateness issues are the driving power guiding the company’s declining product sales.
Wojcicki says she’s been surprised by the downward craze, but the organization is fully commited to creating modifications to in shape the market place. This spherical of task cuts focuses primarily on the company’s functions division, which worked on 23andMe’s development and scaling ideas. Wojcicki also notes that the organization will reorganize in the coming months to aim much more on its immediate product sales to buyers and fewer on its scientific scientific tests division.
Although 23andMe doesn’t have knowledge to confirm privateness is at the coronary heart of the challenge, that is likely a excellent guess. The news in the latest months has been loaded with stories of police using shopper DNA screening databases to resolve cold instances. In 2018, police determined Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer, who terrorized California communities in the 1970s and 1980s. A number of of DeAngelo’s distant relatives associates experienced submitted DNA samples to GEDmatch, permitting police to slender their look for and get a confirmed match to DeAngelo’s DNA.
Since then, police have utilised DNA databases to revive other higher-profile instances, and a court docket decision in 2019 explained police had been free of charge to ransack the GEDmatch database, even if consumers experienced not agreed to make their knowledge accessible. 23andMe certainly didn’t aid issues when it lower a deal with drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to use client DNA records to develop new medications.
We have found time and time once more that folks are keen to give up a small privateness if there are ample advantages. We all even now have smartphones, even although it’s easy for apps and services to spy on our spots. And Fb even now has billions of consumers despite… almost everything Fb does. It’s probable 23andMe just is not powerful plenty of for buyers to justify these new privateness issues.
This is not the to start with bump in the street for 23andMe. A number of decades again, the organization experienced to quit supplying new screening in the wake of a government investigation. Regulators cited 23andMe for remaining quick and loose with its health studies, which showed buyers genes connected with characteristics and health conditions that had been not thoroughly vetted. It bounced again from that mess, but it could encounter better troubles if attitudes towards DNA screening have shifted.
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