For $999 would you want to know what your genetic composition means to you?
Are you more prone to certain kinds of cancer?
Will you get Alzheimer's?
Are you mother's ancestors really from the Black Forest region in Germany?
Are you related to Dave Chappelle's mom?
23andme.com, launching with backing from Google and NEA, offers a service to provide you with these answers and more for a cheek swab and $999. Uber-brains and people with lots of academic suffixes fill out their employment roster.
Interestingly enough, most of the more compelling resources (did you get your good teeth from your dad?) requires that family members also be participants in the service, so that would mean a very expensive Christmachannukwanzaa present for everyone in the clan.
One of the founders, Anne Wojcicki, is the new wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Given the nature of Google to acquire all that is known about you in order to provide more 'customized advertisements', it's an interesting service to be sure, but I'm loathe to keep pumping Google and its related subsidiaries with personal information. I'm looking at you, Facebook.
Can you imagine the type of money Google could charge companies wishing to advertise through them if Google statisticians and biologists found a strong correlation between your genetic composition and people who sell or re-lease their car every 2 years? I keep thinking about Oryx and Crake for some reason.
All conspiracy notions aside, I'm also thinking that results from this test would also allow you to get a better sense of your own mortality. Would you want to know when and how you'll expire, if you could? Or is this just going to be a totally awesome tool for people who finally want to put an end to the debate about how Irish are they really come St. Paddy's day?