Consumer DNA-testing giant 23andMe Inc. plans to add new wellness offerings it hopes will help its customers shed a few pounds, but some genetics experts say the jury is still out on the science behind the products.
On [January 8], the Mountain View, California-based company announced a partnership with Lark Health, an artificial-intelligence coaching service that delivers personalized advice for weight loss and diabetes prevention via an app.
The move will put 23andMe in a crowded — and oft-criticized — marketplace of companies that use DNA analysis to give personalized advice on wellness or family history. Believers herald the coming of a personalized-health revolution; critics contend that such tools haven’t yet been shown to provide something truly useful.
For those that opt-in to sharing their genetic data, Lark’s apps will incorporate data from eight different 23andMe reports, including a weight profile of people with similar genetics, whether they have a heightened sense for bitter-tasting foods, or an associated tendency to sleep deeply.
The recommendations Lark will make based on DNA data are the sort of advice likely to be doled out to any dieter — sleep more, eat healthier — but the hope is that personalized counsel will make such suggestions more effective.
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