Good Start Genetics provides genetic testing for couples who want to have a healthy baby. Helix is a company that enables people to uncover their DNA story. The two companies have partnered for the purpose of helping each company provide its genetic tests to a larger market.
Good Start Genetics provides direct-to-consumer DNA testing that focuses on “carrier testing”. Their GeneVu carrier tests have three options that couples can choose from. Pan-Ethnic tests, Ethnicity-specific tests, and tests for Ashkenasi Jewish disorders.
The Pan-Ethnic tests can screen for genetic disorders that are relatively common – regardless of a person’s ethnic background. This test can be used to screen for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Fragile X syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The Ethnicity Specific tests can scan for hemoglobinopathies (or blood disorders) that are seen in various populations. This test can screen for Alpha-thalassemia, Beta-thalassemia, and Sickle Cell disease.
The tests for Ashkenazi Jewish disorders can screen for disorders that are most common in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. This test can scan for Bloom’s syndrome, Canavan disease, Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Dihydrolopoamide dehydrogenase deficiency, Familiar dysautonomia, Familial hyperinsulinism, Faconi anemia (Group C), Gaucher disease, Glycogen storage disease type la, Joubert syndrome 2, Maple syrup urine disease type 1A/1B, Mucolipidosis type IV, Nemaline myopathy, Niemann-Pick disease type A/B, Tay-Sachs disease, Usher syndrome type III, Usher syndrome type IF and Walker-Warburg syndrome.
Helix is a startup based on California. It functions differently than Good Start Genetics does. Helix collects data for all of a customer’s genes. When a customer requests a particular test, they pay to get only that specific information. Helix believes that, months or years later, that same customer will return to pay for other DNA tests. Helix can offer those results because the company would still have it in their databases.
Why did Good Start Genetics and Helix form a partnership? The answer is because it benefits both companies (and therefore, can benefit consumers as well). Good Start Genetics gets customers through referrals from fertility clinics. Partnering with Helix would enable them to reach customers directly, and also to provide a “lite” version of their tests. Helix benefits by getting the attention of more customers.
Overall, this partnership could help genealogists who are working on putting together their medical family tree. Or, it could help genealogists, who are already aware of genetically heritable diseases that “run in the family” to point other family members towards DNA tests. Those tests could shed light on the family member’s risk of passing a disease to an offspring.
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