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Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks through the unveiling of the brand new Tesla Mannequin Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.
DNA Good friend is a brand new shopper genetics firm that goals to rival 23andMe with its “quickest and freest DNA testing service.”
The one distinction?
It is a complete parody.
DNA Good friend, which has each an internet site and social media presence, is a creation of Thud, a brand new media undertaking run by former Onion staffers and initially backed by Elon Musk. Based on the Atlantic, Tesla’s CEO initially owned the enterprise however bought it to former editors on the Onion — Ben Berkley and Cole Bolton — again in January. Musk as soon as referred to the Onion “the best publication within the historical past of all aware beings, dwelling or lifeless,” indicating a deep affinity for satire.
The truth that Thud selected the DNA testing area as a primary goal is revealing, well being consultants counsel.
The area is booming, with at-home DNA testing firm 23andMe alone claiming to have greater than eight million customers. Ancestry, its chief rival, has greater than 10 million in its database. However the market, which is predicted to be value greater than $22 billion by 2024, can also be underneath hearth for a variety of isswebues, together with the dearth of shopper privateness protections, latest involvements with regulation enforcement, and the questionable scientific utility.
“Client genetics firms have a difficult job of constructing extra purposes of genomics to draw extra prospects, but in addition constructing purposes responsibly to make sure scientific validity,” mentioned David Mittelman, a former chief scientific officer of Household Tree DNA, a shopper genetics firm, and a geneticist.
“It is a onerous balancing act,” he mentioned, noting that the parody web site “highlights a few of the newer failures within the area.”
On its web site and social media channels, DNA Good friend rips into DNA testing firms for charging shoppers to inform them apparent issues, akin to an estimate of eye and hair shade.
“I all the time suspected I had brown eyes, however DNA Good friend completely confirmed it,” mentioned one buyer in a testimonial.