It’s amazing what is being done with DNA sequencing. Cancer genetics and personalised medicine make headlines, consumer genomics has been in the news and Genomics England are going to sequence 100,000 NHS patients. But all that glitters is not gold!
I’m not sure everyone will have seen the announcement last year from GeneOnyx on the NGS test to predict which skincare products you should be consider using. This was a collaborative venture with GeneOnyx and DNAe providing technology for the Organic Pharmacy’s Kings Road store.
According to their press release GeneOnyx were working with DNA Electronics Ltd on a service that uses a simple saliva sample as the input to a PCR-based SNP test. Specific genetic variations were to be profiled to allow a personalised recommendation for anti-ageing products from the Organic Pharmacy. In the press release from last year the team said “Our DNA determines when we start showing the signs of ageing and how quickly our skin ages. This is unique to each of us. The technological advances unique to the GeneOnyx system now mean that we can assess how likely you are to age early and also your ability to metabolise active anti-ageing ingredients used in our products.” Tests were to be completed while you wait for just £295.
Unfortunately when I got in touch to find out how the test had done over the past year I was told it had been withdrawn. I think this is a shame; whilst I’m sceptical of the claims made by many cosmetics companies and the statistical methods used to manipulate data, I really did like the Organic Pharmacy's take on how people might metabolise certain products differently. This was a definitely a novel approach to market cosmeceuticals. I hope the failure of this platform won’t put people off from pushing the envelope of consumer genomics in the future.
I was piqued to finally publish this blog post by the recent announcement of the UK Personal Genome Project and the NHS's decision to use genome analysis to test for Down's syndrome. I firmly believe Genomics that impacts real people is on the way.
How soon will genomics be part of normal life; are we on the road to our own version of GATTACA, Brave New World or somewhere better?