Israeli genealogy company MyHeritage takes on DNA health screening
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Israeli genealogy company MyHeritage takes on DNA health screening

New kits will screen for genetic markers linked to 29 separate conditions, from heart disease to Tay-Sachs, but not in Israel, where private testing is not allowed

MyHeritage headquarters in Or Yehuda. (MyHeritage/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA)
MyHeritage headquarters in Or Yehuda. (MyHeritage/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA)

MyHeritage, the Israeli online genealogy and DNA testing company, is launching a genetic health report for its users that will inform consumers of their gene-based risks for various diseases, the company said on Monday.

MyHeritage has offered a DNA testing service to its 103 million registered users since November 2016, but the tests only tracked ethnic origins as revealed by users’ DNA.

The new kit will reveal if users are carriers of recessive genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs or cystic fybrosis, have the genetic abnormality associated with inherited breast cancer or late-onset Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, or carry genetic markers for risk for so-called “polygenic” diseases, like heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

In all, 29 separate disease reports are produced by the test, and the company says it plans to expand that to many more.

The kit is not available in Israel, which does not allow private genetic health screening.

Illustrative: Genetic testing. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

The new service “offers genetic insights that could improve the future health and lifestyle of users,” a company statement said Monday.

The new kit, dubbed “MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry,” will include the existing service that maps users’ ethnic origins.

The company’s genetic research is ongoing, it said, and is fueled by the data gained by the nearly 3 million DNA kits sold to users as of 2019.

It promised in its Monday statement that the data obtained by the tests will be protected with “the most advanced encryption available.”

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