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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

23andMe Mixes Up Customer DNA Data

23andMe does relatively cheap analysis of your genetic information. Google had invested in the company before, and its co-founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who previously mentioned the company in his blog (“As a customer of 23andMe, I have always been excited about the product. I have found what pieces of DNA I share with various relatives ... I explored my various gene journals”). Now, the company mixed up customer samples, sending out the wrong information to 96 people, as they say.

This error meant that some people got back the wrong gender, for instance, an error easily spotted. But one customer reports of what the mix up meant for him:

Still upset I checked family inheritance and noticed my daughter shared with me, and then I checked my son’s. He was not a match for any of us. I checked his haplogroup’s and they were different from ours. I started screaming. A month before my son was born two local hospitals had baby switches. I panicked and I checked over and over. My kid’s were sitting at the computer because we all wanted to see the results. My son laughed but he looked upset. I called my sister in tears.

23andMe in a blog post says the mix-up was caused “by human error and the incorrect placement of a single 96-well plate used in processing samples." They company claims they are “adding new procedures to prevent this from happening again.”

[Via Spiegel.]


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