Consumer genomics is becoming easier and easier to access and a colleague recently contacted me about my experiences as some friends were planning to get tested. When I got "23andMe'd" I learnt some new stuff about me and my DNA, and I'd like to learn more about the genealogical side but have not attempted to get my data into one of the better sites for this.
But how far might we go with consumer genomics? Believe it or not there is a company offering a service to identify which pet crapped on your lawn!
Genomic tourism: I've posted before about the possibility of holidaying somewhere like India and getting your exome sequenced. And as it becomes clearer that genomic analysis can help diagnose disease an industry is likely to emerge offering that to individuals who can't get it due to financial, or legal constraints in their home country. If the NHS can't offer me an early test for Cancer what's to stop me going somewhere to have some blood taken and have my results ready when I get home from my vacation?
Heir-tracing: There are companies out there that specialise in finding people who may be beneficiaries of a will, e.g. Heir-Trace. Using DNA fingerprinting by NGS or arrays may allow descendants of an individual to be contacted more easily even if there is k=no known connection to the executors.
PooPrints vs Fingerprints: PooPrints offer a service to identify the animal responsible for making a mess on your lawn/park/pavement. Using DNA fingerprinting technology they create a database of animals in a local community and then are able to identify which animal was responsible if the owner did not clear up. There was some coverage on the BBC (from a story here) website about how a council in the UK has suggested this, although in the current financial climate I think I'd rather my library stayed open!
PooPrints charges $29.95 to get a dog registered, for just a little more they could be using one of the Canine genotyping chips to give a lot more data back to the owners.
23andMeow: If companies like PooPrints can access high-volume SNP content (Affymetrix's 130k Custom Canine array or Illumina's 130k CanineHD array) then surely there is a market for a 23andMe style service but for pets rather than people? Admittedly the market is pretty low but it could be worth someone's investment?
How do you get DNA from your pet dog: Take a look at the image below from DNA Genotek's blog. Looks easy but mind your fingers!
Perhaps if we can successfully genotype mummified cats from the Pyramids then you might just find out your kitty is a descendant of Tutankhamen's favourite pet!