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23andMe rolls out £125 gene tests in the UK

By Charlie Cooper

A £125 genetic test that claims to tell people how likely they are to suffer from cancer and Parkinson's will be available in the UK from today - courtesy of a company which has already been subject to a crackdown by US regulators.

23andMe - named after the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell - offers its customers reports on more than 100 health and personal traits based on genetic tests carried out on saliva samples.

Globally, 800,000 people have taken the tests, which are already available in the USA and Canada. However, customers in the US do not currently receive information on their health after the regulator temporarily banned 23andMe from marketing the test, amid concerns that it could give inaccurate results and drive people to seek out unnecessary treatments, or even offer false reassurance.

The company said it had addressed the concerns raised by the FDA, and the UK test offers health reports on fewer conditions. However, the Department of Health warned that British people should "think carefully before using private genomic services as no test is 100% reliable".

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