23andMe to offer genetic testing for diabetes risk

11 March 2019 (Last Updated March 11th, 2019 11:19)

23andMe has developed a test that could help predict the chances of an individual developing Type 2 diabetes based on their genetics, weight, age and lifestyle.

23andMe to offer genetic testing for diabetes risk
The new genetic report uses a polygenic score that analyses more than 1,000 genetic variants on an individual’s genome. Credit: geralt via Pixabay.

23andMe has developed a test that could help predict the chances of an individual developing Type 2 diabetes based on their genetics, weight, age and lifestyle.

The service analyses a customer’s DNA sample and creates a report identifying the likelihood of the disease developing and encouraging healthy lifestyle changes to lower that risk. The report has not received regulatory approval and is not intended for diagnosis of the condition.

23andMe’s reports are developed using real-world data from more than 2.5 million people that have already participated in the company’s research.

The test works with a polygenic score that analyses more than 1,000 genetic variants on an individual’s genome to assess their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes is a significant health issue in the US that is expected to impact nearly half of the population.”

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three people in the US have prediabetes. Type 2 is considered as the most common and yet preventable form of the condition.

23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki said: “Diabetes is a significant health issue in the US that is expected to impact nearly half of the population.

“When customers learn about their genetic likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, we believe there is an opportunity to motivate them to change their lifestyle and ultimately to help them prevent the disease.”

The company hopes that the new report will serve as a template to devise other data-driven polygenic modelling reports to predict the risk for genetically complex diseases.

In January this year, 23andMe received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for its direct-to-consumer genetic test on MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP), a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. This genetic health risk report is designed to look for two of the most common genetic variants associated with MAP.