Earlier this year, Navigenics Inc. of Redwood, CA, dropped the price of its personal gene profiling kit from (US)$1,000 to just (US)$400, some say opening the way for a flood of testing which could predict whether a person will suffer from any of a host of common diseases during their life and, perhaps, someday, make it possible to predict how long we’ll live.


The home testing kit provides the hardware and instructions to gather buccal (saliva) swabs which are then sent back to Navigenics for analysis.

As the Navigenics Web site explains, the (US)$400 test package offers an annual snapshot of an individual’s genetic predisposition to a selection of common health conditions, including:

  • Analysis of your genetic predisposition to 10 common health conditions and the information plus support to help you prevent, detect or diagnose them early.
  • One hour of genetic counseling to help you understand your genetic test results and what actions to take next.
  • The ability to apply the cost of the test toward Navigenics’ Health Compass genetic testing service should you choose to upgrade within a year.

The Health Compass package — at (US)$2499 — tests for all currently-known genetic health indicators, plus provides ongoing 24/7 access to genetic counselling services and ‘personalized updates for new health condition predispositions, and clinical wellness strategies’.

While the value of knowing whether you may, or definitely will, suffer from some genetically-based disorder in the future is undisputed, one big questiuon remains: If tests such as Navigenics’ could, in fact, tell you how long you were likely to live — would you want to know?

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