A few initial thoughts on 23andMe's new $999 exome product:

1. The company steers clear of the FDA's baleful gaze by (at least initially) offering raw data only with no analysis.

2. This is for hardcore beta testers only. A raw exome sequence with no interpretation requires some serious data-wrangling to extract useful data from. Even existing open-access interpretation tools like Promethease will provide fairly overwhelming data.

3. The offer is open only to existing customers. That has two benefits: the one they emphasise on their site is that it selects for people with at least some experience in looking at genetic data. A more important (but unstated) benefit is that the customers' chip data will provide a comparison data-set for exome quality control.

4. We shouldn't forget that Knome has been offering both genome and exome sequencing DTC (along with interpretation) for a long time. However, my sense is that they've attracted relatively few customers. I suspect 23andMe will be able to rope in a substantially larger customer base even at a comparable price point, leveraging their marketing and community-building strengths.

5. Still, no question that the number of people willing to fork out $999 for a non-clinical-grade exome is pretty small.

6. At Genomes Unzipped we'll be looking to get hold of at least one of these exomes, as well as providing some suggestions on ways in which the raw data can be used. Exciting times for those of us who've spent the last few years working with sequence data...
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