On January 6, GenomeWeb News reported that 23andMe was altering earlier plans to make subscribers’ genetic information available even if they decided to cancel their subscriptions to 23andMe’s service. The firm’s new policy, the website reported, stated that those who cancel their subscriptions would be “cut off from accessing much of their genetic information, including reports that interpret their genetic data.” It is important to note: Any potential changes to subscriptions at 23andMe do not affect those in the Parkinson’s disease community.
According to a spokesperson for the firm, none of those with PD who have signed up for 23andMe’s services were to be affected; none in fact are paying any kind of subscription. All members of the PD community have free lifetime memberships, and they will continue to receive updated health reports indefinitely, the spokesperson explained.
Moreover, in a response to the confusion, 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki issued a statement amending the planned changes for the community of subscribers on the whole, extending services for many so that no changes will be made to any accounts until July 31, 2012. Wojcicki’s statement also explained that customers will not be removed from the firm’s Relative Finder database, which allows subscribers to identify and then to contact relatives who may also have subscribed to the service. To read the full list of changes, read Wojcicki’s letter here.
In 2009, 23andMe launched an initiative to recruit 10,000 people with PD to join a research community designed to leverage DNA technology, the Internet, and patient participation to enhance scientific understanding of PD toward the development of breakthrough treatments for the disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is a partner in this initiative. To find out more about how you can be a part of this community, visit www.michaeljfox.org/23andme.cfm.