New Mayo Clinic GeneGuide DNA Testing Application Provides Genetic Testing, Insights Backed by Mayo Clinic Expertise

Mayo Clinic released a new DNA product with Helix, a personal genomics company, called "Mayo Clinic GeneGuide." The DNA-powered product provides healthy individuals with genetic testing and insights with a focus on education. This product is backed by Mayo medical science and expertise.

“The Mayo Clinic GeneGuide app uses the highest quality data to provide individuals with personal genomic insights, backed up with world class educational material helping users to understand their results and learn the language of genetics,” says Matthew Ferber, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic genomics researcher who led the development of the app.

When an individual orders Mayo Clinic GeneGuide, the process begins with a Mayo-affiliated physician reviewing the individual’s health history. If Mayo Clinic GeneGuide is appropriate for the individual, the physician orders the test through Helix’s clinical lab that is accredited by the College of American Pathologists. Then Helix will ship a saliva collection kit to the individual within two days.

Once Helix receives the saliva sample at its accredited lab, the DNA is sequenced, resulting in 100 times more data than other types of genetic testing. These data are stored securely for future use. Then the genetic insights are interpreted by Mayo Clinic and the results are accessible on the Mayo Clinic GeneGuide web application.

Users receive genetic test reports that educate on health and disease risk. Health and disease risks range from complex illnesses and hereditary genetic conditions to how the body processes certain over-the-counter medications and physician-prescribed anesthesia. Decision-making tools help people better understand potential risks for specific health conditions. Individuals also can share their results with their health care provider for informed decision-making on actions related to their health.

"Mayo Clinic GeneGuide is an important step forward in helping people make informed health decisions involving DNA, and is a critical health product on the Helix platform," says Justin Kao, senior vice president and co-founder at Helix. “People are highly motivated to learn about how their DNA impacts their health. We harness the power of DNA sequencing, which allows us to offer health products that give more accurate risk indications. By partnering with Mayo Clinic on this product we are excited to advance our mission to empower every person to improve their lives through DNA.”

Mayo Clinic GeneGuide features include:

  • Analysis of disease-causing genes for specific mutations associated with common hereditary conditions
  • Educational modules written by Mayo Clinic experts who teach users about genetics and the specific conditions tested for by Mayo Clinic GeneGuide
  • Additional content added over time powered by Helix’s Exome+ platform and available to users without requiring a new sample
  • Secure and protected database
  • Express consent which gives control to the user over how his or her genetic data is used and shared with any third party
  • Access to Mayo Clinic-affiliated health care providers and their knowledge base, including genetic counselors
  • Powered by Helix’s Exome+ DNA sequencing, which reads and securely stores 100 times more data than other tests, enabling users to access additional products and services from the Helix store without providing another saliva sample

“We need to work toward a future where everyone can benefit from individualized medicine products and services. Mayo Clinic GeneGuide will introduce genomics to a broader audience that Mayo Clinic aspires to engage and educate,” says Keith Stewart, M.B., CH.B., Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. “This is part of the future of medicine in which we routinely employ genomics and empower individuals to help predict and prevent disease.”

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This post was written and originally published by the Mayo Clinic News Network. To see the latest news from Mayo Clinic, go to http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org. The editor of the News Network site is Dana Sparks.