Fad or not? 23andMe lays off 14 percent of workforce in wake of declining sales

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki told CNBC that she was surprised that the market was starting to turn but is willing to downsize because it is “what the market is ready for.”

Wojcicki, sister of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, didn’t discredit the notion that privacy may be one reason why consumers are shying away from at-home DNA testing. There’s real concern that test results could end up in the wrong hands.

Worse yet, what if those “wrong hands” belong to law enforcement? Such was the case in 2018 when authorities arrested Joseph James DeAngelo on suspicion of being the Golden State Killer after getting a lead from a personal genomics website.

Even the Pentagon is now even reportedly advising military members against using consumer DNA testing kits over security concerns.

Wojcicki said that fear of another economic downturn may also be scaring some potential customers away, those that would rather save a couple hundred bucks than spend it on a testing kit. If that is indeed the case, there’s not a whole lot the company can do to combat it other than lower its prices.

23andMe isn’t the only company in the space that is experiencing a slowdown. Illumina, a firm that makes DNA sequencing machines, said last summer that the entire segment was on the decline. Another company, Veritas Genetics, shut down its US operations just ahead of the New Year.

Masthead credit: 23andMe by nevodka. DNA fingerprint by isak55

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QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
They need to bring out home paternity testing to boost their sales. It wil be very interesting to see how hard mom's fight to disallow visitation then!
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Once again, our legislatures could turn a vital program into a safe program by outlawing the sale, exchange, or trade of each individuals most private information and to strengthen the laws making it absolutely illegal to base insurance, medical coverage, or anything else on these results.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
Once again, our legislatures could turn a vital program into a safe program by outlawing the sale, exchange, or trade of each individuals most private information and to strengthen the laws making it absolutely illegal to base insurance, medical coverage, or anything else on these results.
Because, as we all know, the government, police, and intelligence agencies follow the law to the letter, and never break the law to collect information on citizens. Medical companies never break the law to overcharge for medicine, or use information against patients. Nope, never happens, they are all upstanding law abiding organizations.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
While I understand the concerns about privacy and that some companies will blame their downturn on whatever they see fit even if it has nothing to do with their current problems, I find it hard to believe that 23andme is really affected by this all that much.

I had a look at their "products" and, IMO, they look like nothing more than an attempt to cash in on the fad.

Personally, I would not choose their products.
 

SimonJ

TS Rookie
I recently did 23andMe and it alerted me to a vulnerability to macular degeneration. I've been taking steps to fight it. Definitely worth the $100.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I recently did 23andMe and it alerted me to a vulnerability to macular degeneration. I've been taking steps to fight it. Definitely worth the $100.
Lol - or you could have just seen your doctor and you’d have gotten the same info - assuming you have a competent one...