Veritas Genetics is one of the only companies which offers whole-genome sequencing. Other companies test small markers in your DNA, either SNPs or STRs. With Veritas Genetics, every nucleotide is sequenced, down to the last A, T, G, or C. Though their genetic testing services are more expensive than others, they provide some of the most comprehensive results in the industry. Below is a review of their services, including their main offering, the myGenome direct-to-consumer testing kit.
Veritas Genetics overview and basic data
|Can be used for||Ancestry, Health and Disease, and Lifestyle Genetic testing|
|DNA collection||Spit Collection Tube|
|Number of SNPs tested||Entire Genome|
|DNA sample stored||Indefinitely|
|Availability||US, UK, Canada|
|Price||$999 – $2,999|
|Platform matching for family||No|
|Geographical analysis of ancestry||Yes|
|Special Features||Sequence your entire genome, and get updates on important new health and disease findings, for life. Further, this test requires a physician to order and discuss your results with. The company will provide you with a physician if you do not have one.|
|Number of users||Unknown|
|Ownership||Privately held by a number of equity firms|
|Address||99 Conifer Hill Dr.
Danvers, MA 01923
|Website Address||https://www.Veritas Geneticsgenetics.com/|
|Client Reviews||Few reviews, but there are several Better Business Bureau complaints about tests taking well-beyond the estimated 12-week window. They hold an A- rating with the BBB.|
Company background for Veritas Genetics
Veritas Genetics is a spinoff of researchers at Harvard and the Human Genome Project. Co-founded in 2014 by Preston Estep, Jonathan Zhao, Mirza Cifric, and Zhao Yining, the company was one of the first to offer next-generation sequencing for the entire genome. While most companies test only single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), this company “reads” or sequences a person’s entire genome.
Recently, the company has made several acquisitions and upgrades. These include the acquisition of an artificial intelligence startup for faster analysis of DNA, as well as upgrades to Illumina’s NovaSeq 6000, a machine that automates the process of sequencing. This also increases processing time and decreases human error.
Veritas Genetics Offerings Review
Veritas Genetics has one main offering, the myGenome kit. This DNA testing kit is similar to many in that you spit in a collection tube and mail it back to the company. However, unlike many companies which only test small portions of the DNA to identify known variants, Veritas Genetics will sequence your entire genome. The myGenome package includes smartphone and computer access to your results, as well as constant updates on new medical, disease-related, and lifestyle genetic findings.
The myGenome kit is one of the most comprehensive DNA at-home tests available. However, you will need your doctor to sign off before you can purchase a kit. This is for a very good reason. The results from a whole-genome analysis are dense, confusing, and should always be discussed with a doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, Veritas Genetics has a network of genetic counselors and clinicians they can set you up with. However, it is not clear whether these services are a part of the basic package.
The company breaks down your results into 5 basic sections: Health, Pharmacogenomics, Carrier Status, Lifestyle Attributes, and Ancestry. The health category tests for known genetic variants which can cause or lead to disease. The company custom-tailors your results, only showing you which genetic variants you carry which may be a problem. The pharmacogenomics report is special among DNA testing companies and offers insights into how different medications may or may not be compatible with your genes. The carrier status report will detail if you are a carrier of any genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis.
The lifestyle attributes report contains information on how your genetics may affect your diet, exercise routine, or daily habits such as sleeping. It can also show if you have any known variants related to certain mental traits, such as memory. The ancestry report will give you a breakdown of your ethnic ancestry, and show you possible routes your ancestors may have migrated.
What separates Veritas Genetics from other companies in that regard??
Veritas Genetics is one of the few companies doing whole-genome sequencing. Because of their advanced machinery, they are able to sequence the entire genome instead of focusing on only a few small areas. Most companies test for known SNPs, or short tandem repeats (STRs), which serve as identifiers for known alleles of a gene. With Veritas Genetics, you can know every single nucleotide in the gene.
While these two methods are essentially tied right now in terms of accuracy, the Veritas Genetics method produces significantly more data. Over time, as scientists shed more light on the human genome and genetics in general, a whole-genome sequence will reveal much more. With any package from Veritas Genetics, the company provides updates for life, which is an incredible value. Veritas Genetics is one of the only companies to test the entire genome, though there are companies which test the exosome (a smaller portion of protein-coding DNA) for slightly cheaper.
How it works, what will your kit include?
Get your kit, register it with the Veritas Genetics website, and spit in the tube. After you mail your sample back to the lab, you must wait around 12 weeks. While this is on the longer side of DNA testing companies, Veritas Genetics is also testing much more. After that time, Veritas Genetics will send you your initial report which will have sections on health, lifestyle, and ancestry information related to your test.
If you require a consultation with a genetic counselor, Veritas Genetics also has the connections necessary to provide you with a professional. You can either review the results with your own doctor or pay a little extra to have their in-house team of clinicians review your results. As new research comes in, the company will update the platform and apply and important changes or new findings to your report. With DNA testing on the rise and your whole genome sequenced, this could be a significant amount of updates and new information over time.
Understanding the results
The Health report will contain information on potential health risks you are exposed to. The standard kit analyzes over 200 disease-related genetic variants. Some of these can increase your risk of heart problems, Alzheimer’s, or various cancers. Because your doctor must sign off on and analyze the results with you, Veritas Genetics is able to give you information on a wide range of inheritable conditions which other companies cannot. For example, while 23andMe has an FDA approved breast-cancer risk test, they cannot offer other cancer-related tests not specifically approved by the FDA. This could give you access to more information than other companies can offer.
The Pharmacogenomics results are also unique to Veritas Genetics. Also requiring a doctor’s order to be compliant with the FDA, these results detail which medicines may or may not work for you. The drug interactions in your body can be heavily influenced by your genetics, and the results of this test can help you and your doctor get your prescription right.
Carrier Status Report
With the Carrier Status results, you will be able to view any genes you carry which can lead to genetically inherited diseases. These genetic diseases can be harbored by healthy individuals, also known as “carriers”. Because they have one functioning copy of a given gene, they do not exhibit symptoms. If you and your partner both know which diseases you are carriers for, you can predict the chances that your baby will get the disease. The standard test offers 40+ disease tests, while the higher packages examine 225 or more possible carrier conditions.
Lifestyle Attributes Report
The Lifestyle Attributes results are based on genes related to your general wellbeing. This includes things that may affect your diet, exercise effectiveness, or general habits. The test covers over 50 traits, from exercise response, alcohol sensitivity, hair color, and a number of other factors. This report can help you and your doctor tail your diet, exercise, and habits to optimize your performance. The many genes tested for will give you actionable insights into how you could better live your life, according to your genetics.
The final ancestry report details your genetic heritage. It gives you a breakdown of your ancestry, by region, and can help you trace your ancient roots. However, the platform does not offer a family matching service or a family tree service. These results are based on genetic similarities you share with reference populations. While slightly unrelated to ancestry, the platform will ask about your family medical history, which will better assist them in giving you actionable insights into your health and wellbeing.
Will your data be shared?
The Veritas Genetics’ Privacy Statement does not mention genetic data, only personal data collected from their website. However, in their Notice of Privacy Practices, the company addresses their use of genetic data. Your personal genetic data is safeguarded, but it is unclear if Veritas Genetics bundles and sells non-personal aggregated data. The company does allow you to opt-in for various research projects, which give them permission to share your data with researchers.
Media coverage and user opinions
Many media outlets, blogs, and reviews have covered Veritas Genetics, as they were one of the first companies to offer whole-genome testing. Many reviewers were impressed by the amount of data Veritas Genetics provides, and the access to updates for life. The current CEO, Mirza Cifric, has done several interviews discussing the company’s rapid expansion and growth. Veritas Genetics has been named by a number of publications as one of the top genetic testing companies, as well as a prominent disrupting force in the world of DNA testing. A recent article detailed a partnership formed by Veritas Genetics with the Mayo Clinic, a leading medical research hospital. Through Veritas Genetics, the Mayo Clinic will be offering genetic testing services directly to their patients. In return, they are providing valuable clinical feedback to Veritas Genetics, a win-win for the companies and a win for the end-consumer as well.
- Medium – HUBweek Change Maker: Mirza Cifric
- Science News – What genetic tests from 23andMe, Veritas Genetics and Genos really told me about my health
- Business Wire – Fabric Genomics Enters Strategic Partnership with Veritas Genetics
- MIT Technology Review – This new company wants to sequence your genome and let you share it on a blockchain
- MIT Technology Review – The 5 Smartest Companies Analyzing Your DNA
Veritas Genetics has very few user reviews on the web. There are 7 complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), mostly about users never receiving their results or having to wait well beyond the 12-week estimated timeline. As Veritas Genetics continues to upgrade their technology, these problems will likely cease. Besides the BBB, there are almost no customer reviews of Veritas Genetics on the web, besides professional reviews.
Users who are happy with Veritas Genetics mentioned the following points:
- Veritas Genetics gives you access to an enormous amount of information.
- The website is well designed, with informative videos about their process and results.
- Updates will continue as long as you or the company are still around.
- By sequencing your entire genome, you are preparing for the many genetic findings to come.
- Veritas Genetics is using advanced sequencing and AI techniques to process genetic data.
- You can opt-in to genetic research, pooling your data with others to find new genetic correlations.
Users giving Veritas Genetics a 1-star review mentioned the following worthy points:
- Though advertised at 12 weeks, the process may take much longer.
- Several customers purchased the product over a year ago, with no results yet.
- The platform sequences your entire code, but you cannot view it.
- Only gives you access to relevant traits/conditions, which they determine.
- Need a doctor’s permission to order the test.
- Way too expensive for the average genetics enthusiast.
Bottom line conclusions for this Veritas Genetics review
Veritas Genetics is set to be a future powerhouse in genetic testing. While other companies are currently leading Veritas Genetics in number of users, their price point will continue to drop. The other companies will be limited in their testing technology, and likely have less genetic information to research. Getting a whole-genome sequence test is not for everyone, and you will need your doctor (or a Veritas Genetics doctor) to sign off on it. However, because of Veritas Genetics’ partnerships with large organizations like the Mayo Clinic, you know their results are going to be accurate and thorough. For people wishing to get a top-of-the-line genetic test, at a top-of-the-line price, Veritas Genetics is your company.