Tracing your family tree is a fun pastime for family gatherings, except when you start noticing the incidences of hereditary diseases in your ancestry. Soon, every look in the mirror or laddoo on your plate comes with a side helping of the question — am I in trouble? 23andme has devised a way to know for sure — within the comfort of your home. Founded in 2007 by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza and Anne Wojcicki, 23andme gets its name from the 23 pairs of chromosomes that all human cells have.
The Mountain View-based company has designed a $99 genome kit with which people can collect and mail a saliva sample to the firm. 23andme then provides not just ancestry reports (you always knew you were of royal blood, now you have proof) but customised recommendations for the disease profile you are vulnerable to and preventive measures you can take. With more than 400,000 customers and close to $100 million in funding so far, 23andme is getting closer to unravelling the double helix.