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There is a fascinating must-read in Fast Company this month about a company called 23andMe, a genetic testing startup founded by the company CEO, Anne Wojcicki,
that specializes in at-home DNA testing.

An excerpt:

"Wojcicki has been thinking deeply about this for years. A former Wall Streeter with a degree in biology, she has parlayed a personal interest in wellness into a thriving, potentially groundbreaking business. Since founding 23and­Me in 2006 - with the backing of an impressive list of investors including her husband, Sergey Brin, and the company he then ran, Google - she has been working toward two goals: bringing the power of genetic testing to everyday consumers so they can better manage their own health care, and using the aggregated data from those tests to help doctors, scientists, hospitals, and researchers discover new cures for diseases that emanate from troublesome genetic mutations."

"We're not just looking to get a venture-capital return," Wojcicki tells Fast Company. "We set out with this company to revolutionize health care."

You can read the whole story here.
KC's View:
This is a terrific piece of reporting on a number of levels.

For one thing, it isn't just a profile of the company ... it is an exploration of the legal, legislative, ethical and privacy issues that must be considered as such technologies take hold and become popularized.

It also is intensely personal. The writer of the piece (who uses a pseudonym) has an adopted daughter from Ethiopia, and she used the test to identify potential genetic problems that could cause her child significant problems as she gets older.

I've always thought that this is the potential game changer for the food business. How one eats obviously can have an impact on one's long-term health, and if people have a clear picture of their genetic map, they can make intelligent and informed decisions about their diets. Imagine food stores with their own versions of "genius bars" designed to help people integrate genetic knowledge into the shopping experience.

There were a couple of companies that tried to do this a decade or so ago, but the timing seemed to be wrong and they didn't get traction. But the last 10 years have seen some enormous changes, and I have a feeling that this easily could be a big idea, and as Victor Hugo once wrote, "Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come."