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Crain’s Chicago Business reports that drug store chain Walgreen has agreed to sell at-home personal DNA testing kits that are manufactured by a San Diego startup, Pathway Genomics. According to the story, “For up to $30, the kits will reveal to consumers a variety of health-related genetic information, including their risk for diseases and the potential for passing them on to their children.

“In the kits, customers will find a vial to collect saliva and a postage-paid envelope. The sample can be sent to Pathway's laboratory. Consumers can access the results online — for an additional cost of up to $179.”

“We recognize that for some, genetic (testing) is becoming an important component of managing one’s health care,” a said a spokesman for Deerfield-based Walgreen. “There are people who need and want to know about their genetic history and makeup, and this is a vehicle and product that will enable them to do so.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that “the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating the medical claims that Pathway is making in marketing its genetic test to consumers. The test has not been approved by U.S. regulators.”
KC's View:
Crain’s gets one thing wrong - this is not the first such at-home DNA testing kit to reach the market. There was a similar product called CellF that was sold a few years ago, and that cost $99.

I’m sure there may be some regulatory issues here, but essentially this is a very good idea that eventually will find traction. I was impressed with how Lunds and Byerly’s marketed the CellF version - not only could you get a report, but you could bring it into one of the company’s stores and have the food experts there help you pick out a menu of foods that are appropriate to whatever genetic predispositions you have.

This is the future. We may not quite be there yet, but it is undeniably where we are going.