Mayo Clinic, Helix launch at-home DNA testing program

The Mayo Clinic, in collaboration with Helix, has released a new personal genomics product in collaboration with Helix aimed at providing healthy individuals with DNA testing and a focus on education.

The GeneGuide consists of an app and a saliva collection kit provided through the mail. The process begins with a Mayo-affiliated physician reviewing the person’s medical history and ordering the test, which is then evaluated by Helix’s clinical lab.

There the DNA will be sequenced and the data stored for future use, with results available through the web application—including reports on health and disease risks, mutations associated with hereditary genetic conditions and enzyme levels related to how the body processes certain anesthesia and over-the-counter medications.

Users also can share their results with their healthcare provider and give consent regarding how the genetic data is used and shared with a third party. The program will not be available in Maryland, New York or Pennsylvania, which have passed laws restricting who can order or market genetic tests.

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"Mayo Clinic GeneGuide is an important step forward in helping people make informed health decisions involving DNA, and is a critical health product on the Helix platform," said Justin Kao, senior VP and co-founder at Helix. “People are highly motivated to learn about how their DNA impacts their health.”

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Other features of the GeneGuide include educational modules by the Mayo Clinic that teach users about genetics and the specific conditions tested, as well as access to Mayo-affiliated healthcare providers and genetic counselors.

In addition, other tests and content can be added over time through Helix’s Exome+ platform and can be accessed without the requiring users to provide a new sample.