23andMe slashes genetic test price to $399

How low can 23andMe go? Lower than $999, apparently. The Google-backed genetic screening company has slashed the price of its Personal Genome Service test, which analyzes patients for inherited traits and provides some idea of their personal disease risks, though critics say the link between genes and diseases is still unclear. The company's competitors sell similar tests for $1,000 to $2,500, making 23andMe's test by far the cheapest.

The company said the price cut was possible "thanks to technological advancements made by the company that provides its DNA scanning technology, Illumina." By offering a cheaper test, 23andMe hopes that more people will be able to afford it, leading to quick adoption among patients. In addition to the price cut, 23andMe also unveiled the expansion of its custom genotyping content along with new social networking and community features.

"By taking advantage of continuing innovation we are able to introduce a new chip that will give people more relevant data at a lower price," said Anne Wojcicki (photo), co-founder of 23andMe. "We are excited that we are opening doors for more people to learn about their health and ancestry and for more people to be able to participate in advancing research. It is important to democratize personal genetics and make it more accessible."

- see 23andMe's release on the price cut
- read the AP report

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