23andMe definitely looks to be an interesting project. Once you send in your DNA (from your saliva in most cases–just use a Q-tip), Illumina will process it and spit back all kinds of information. What Illumina does is make DNA chips, or SNPs (pronounced snips) when lets the company tell of the hundreds of DNA variations for each sample provided. This information can be used to help find ancestral information, or for medical purposes.
Your 23andMe account is kept private. 23andMe isn’t quite ready for public access, but Illumina has indicated that the service will be free. And what’s cool is that Jeff Flately, chief exec of Illumina, has saved slides of his own genome on his iPhone, meaning there’s a lot that you’ll be able to do with your DNA very soon.
You know what scares me about this... the fact that they are doing this for free. There are lots of DNA services out there now with varying pricetags, but to turn a swab of your cheek cells into data costs money.
In spite of my paranoid conspiracy theory, you know I signed up for the announcement list, right?
You can bet your lack of medical history I did.
The Genetic Genealogist
I'll be back later... I'm off to watch the Illumina webcast on this.