Ancestry relaunches DNA health offerings employing Quest’s next-gen sequencing

DNA test tube
In addition, AncestryHealth plans to provide remote access to genetic counselors, in partnership with PWNHealth, to add context to lab reports and provide resources for connecting consumers with providers for future healthcare decisions. (Getty Images / Andy)

The genomic family history company Ancestry is relaunching its health-focused service, using next-generation sequencing technology developed by Quest Diagnostics to provide customers with their risks of developing certain inheritable diseases.

The AncestryHealth program still plans to evaluate the genes behind different cancers, as well as heart disease and blood disorders, but with physician-ordered, next-generation sequencing tests replacing its previous microarray-based offerings.

This promises to be more accurate and provide more data by reading the portions of the genome typically left unanalyzed by microarrays—which have underpinned most consumer genetic testing products for the past several years, according to the company. 

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The upgrade can lead to higher detection rates for the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, for example, but they are not used as clinical diagnostic tests, nor have they been reviewed or approved by the FDA.

“As the market leader in consumer genomics for more than a decade, we are proud to make an important leap forward in democratizing access to comprehensive genetic health risk detection,” said Ancestry’s president and CEO, Margo Georgiadis. 

“We are committed to our long-term vision of helping millions get on the path toward living longer, healthier lives through affordable personalized, preventive health screening in partnership with the healthcare ecosystem,” Georgiadis said.

RELATED: Google's Calico snags access to Ancestry.com data to find genetic causes of long life

In addition, AncestryHealth plans to provide remote access to genetic counselors, in partnership with PWNHealth, to add context to lab reports and provide resources for connecting consumers with providers for future healthcare decisions. It also aims to create a downloadable family health history record that can be delivered to clinicians and used to help fill out medical forms.

"This improvement in automating next generation sequencing will enable genetic screening faster and at much lower cost, and could have profound implications for healthcare in the future, truly empowering better health through actionable insights for millions of people who want to know more about their health risks," said Quest’s chairman, president and CEO, Steve Rusckowski. 

"It wasn't long ago that genetic sequencing took months and cost thousands of dollars,” Rusckowski said. “Quest's proprietary innovation enables sequencing insights in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost."

For $179, AncestryHealth’s kit will be available in 47 states, outside of New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

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