“Who am I?”, a question disparate disciplines strive to answer. However, if we look at biology, the most fundamental answer to this question is, of course, DNA: A collection of 6 billion genetic code markers, 10 trillion human cells, and 100 trillion bacterial cells.

As biotechnology progresses at an incredible rate, the ability to measure what we truly are is more advanced than ever. 

The answer to life, the universe, and everything may be contained in our DNA.

With the DNA testing market on the rise, here are five reasons why you will buy a DNA test within the next 24 months.

1. Popularization: 

DNA is now a conversation starter. With appealing marketing and eye-catching insights, the results of a DNA test are worth talking about. 

A DNA test is no longer only for the “quantified-self geeks”. There are now tests on the market that reveal insights for fitness, diet, pregnancy, neuro-cognition, and even match-making. 

23andMe, the largest consumer-focused DNA testing company, has optimized their merchandising and now offers two testing options, Ancestry and Predisposition of Disease (plus Ancestry). Imagine if you found out that you were 89% Hungarian, 7% Korean and a touch of Native American. With insights like these it’s word-of-mouth marketing takes the forefront.

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New start-ups and business models are also being incentivized to innovate. At the TechCrunch Beijing event in Nov. 2016 DNA testing was a popular topic. Ruilin Zhao, China’s general manager of the industry leading genetic sequencing company, Illumina, told the audience that they will be incubating early-stage biotech and DNA focused startups, not only in the US, but in China as well. China, with its emerging innovative market, will prove to be a fertile ground for popularized DNA testing.

The market for DNA testing has become more diverse. As the variety of tests increase horizontally, the market grows vertically.

2. Personalization: 

In case you haven’t noticed, targeted ads, Siri suggestions, and Amazon’s “Recommended for You” service all get better with time. Some call it AI, some call it machine learning, whatever the buzzword may be, one thing is for sure, this is personalization for the end user.

A report from Rock Health, a venture fund dedicated to digital health, says that “Although genomics companies still overwhelmingly serve the life sciences sector, this is subtly shifting as technology powers use cases outside of the research lab. For example, of the roughly forty venture-backed genomics firms selling to the care delivery ecosystem, many focus on enabling a more personalized ecosystem.”

Imagine a time when instead of being recommended products based on purchase and search histories, retailers recommend products based on your DNA: with food, skin-care, fitness accessories, music, movies, literature, or even fashion items to best match your skin complexion, eye color, temperament, and even your predisposition to chronic and acute conditions. 

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There is no better way to provide more personalized service than by leveraging actual user DNA. The data will be used to build out a recommendation engine that will influence a combination of products and services that’s right for them.

Through advancements of idiosyncratic technology and a saturated ecosystem of goods and services, the market is moving to heavily adopt a personalized user experience. DNA testing, and the resulting information enables purchases that are in fact, tailored only for you, driving the shift in how people experience products and services.

3. Prevention: 

DNA testing can provide fun and personalized service, but it can also provide you with data and insight that can save your life. DNA testing is most strongly known for it’s ability to predict, early-detect, and prevent disease.

Treatment of disease is the old standard of health. The new standard, Health 2.0, is the idea that prevention is the cure. Craig Venter, the first person to sequence a full genome and now CEO of Human Longevity Inc. said, “Most people die 20 years too early because of finding out about something 10 years too late.” 

The idea of knowing may be scary, but it is ultimately empowering.

As insights into your risks become more powerful, you will be able to control your own fate and take advantage of the newfound science behind epigenetics. Think of it like a poker game. Would you rather play the hand by first looking at the cards you were dealt, or play the hand completely blind? Understanding your DNA gives you the ability to be in control and stay proactive.

DNA testing will give you insight to your fate and the opportunity to control the outcome. It’s up to you whether or not you want to take advantage of this crystal ball.

4. Precision:

The precision behind medical treatment in the past decade’s standard medical practices is laughable (no offense to the doctors). For example, two very general treatments for cancer are typically practiced: Try to kill or try to remove. The problem is that these methods for treatment also create many negative repercussions for the body. It’s time to use DNA testing to make the treatment for disease more precise and effective.

Peter Diamandis, founder of the X-Prize Foundation, said in his Exponential Wisdom podcast “We are finally at the point where we are able understand the software that runs our body… we have the ability to read that software, interpret that software, and eventually modify that software… Your genomics are your medical future.”

Fighting cancer should be more than just “nuking” the body with radiation, or removing a tumor that mightreduce the rapidity of escalation. Through DNA testing doctors can precisely identify the driver mutation and use targeted therapy treatment for that specific mutation. DNA is a tool for optimizing and creating the most efficient forms of treatment. 

Treatment for disease is changing and early-detection is becoming clearer. DNA testing is a building block for the future of precision medicine and will continue to be adopted throughout the world of treatment. To ensure the best, most precise medical care, especially for cancer, a DNA test should be mandatory.

5. Price:

The DNA testing market has gone through incredible changes over the past decade. With new, more efficient technology, the barrier to entry for DNA testing is significantly lower than ever before. The adoption rate for users is progressive year over year. It continues to become more reachable for everyone.

According to genome.gov “Advances in the field of genomics over the past quarter-century have led to substantial reductions in the cost of genome sequencing.” Their data shows the drop in pricing for genome sequencing accelerating far beyond the velocity of Moore’s Law.

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Rock Health’s data also shows three segments of consumers that have purchased a genetic test. To satisfy their curiosity, to discover more about their genealogy, and to understand their predisposition for disease, they were willing to pay $142, $186, and $191, respectively. The alignment of consumer need and availability is at a significant crossroad.

DNA tests are now in a similar position as many new and world-changing technologies: Prices are high and the market for consumers is immature. With DNA testing on the verge of a tipping point, the market will adapt in the same way it did when riding a horse shifted to owning an automobile. Soon DNA testing will be more common than owning a car.

The democratization of DNA testing is something that the market cannot ignore. Disruption in the biotech industry is overflowing into the consumer space and creating an incentive for innovation. With increased awareness and lower barriers to entry, user adoption is on the rise.

If you haven’t already, chances are you will purchase a genetic test within the next 24 months. Whether it’s for health, beauty, or simply for the power of insight, this now consumer driven market is set to explode.

2a8576fEditor’s Note:  This post is contributed by Sean Konieczny, a tech entrepreneur and extensive traveller who believes that miles traveled is directly correlated to the level of EQ and decision making quality. While in Asia, he settled in Beijing and co-founded a digital health data company to provide precision healthcare services that correspond with user health data. You can reach him at seankon@me.com.

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