23andMe is a privately held company located in Mountain View, California that enables people to find out information about their genetics (by ordering a saliva testing kit) and to discover potential health issues associated with their genes. The company name reflects the number of paired chromosomes in humans.
In the past, 23andMe used a subscription model where people would pay an upfront fee for the saliva kit and the initial genetic testing, and then, every month, a nominal fee to stay up to date with the research applicable to the discovered genes. As of May 2012, the company discontinued the subscription service to new customers (the current price includes ongoing updates, previously part of the “Lifetime Subscription”).
The company was created by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki in 2006. In May 2007, Wojcicki married Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In December 2008, their son, Benji, was born. In 2009, Linda Avey left the company. The company’s web traffic revolves around 100’000 unique monthly visitors.
23andMe is conducting a study regarding the Parkinson disease. They hope to discover correlations between specific genes and the probability of getting this disease, which might enable people in the future to find out about their predisposition to it and give insight into possible prevention steps before the disease’s onset. In April 2012, the company posted a YouTube video around these efforts, featuring Muhammad Ali‘s story.