23andMe is a company co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The company wants to help bring genome information to the consumers and recently raised $3.9 million from Google and other investors. A big fracas broke out when the company announced the funding, primarily because the money raised from investors including Google (GOOG) and Genentech (DNA) was going to help pay back $2.6 million loan Brin made to 23andMe.
23andMe has not revealed the details of how it is going to make it all work . Forbes.com’s Herper met with Jay Flatley, chief executive of biotech Illumina (ILMN), a gene tool maker, who spilled the beans. Here is how it works.
1. You will send 23andMe a sample. It could be something as tiny as a Q-Tip rubbed on the inside of your cheek. You have seen it done on CSI Miami.
2. Mail this to 23andMe and it end up at Illumina which will genotype it.
3. Illumina will send back the information (DNA variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)) back to 23andMe.
4. The information is going to be available via a password protected website.
5. The 23andMe will start showing off its offering in about two months.