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Faculty Mentor

Rebecca Roberts and Steven Aukers


23&Me is a commercial genetic testing company. One of the many diseases that they test for is Hereditary Hemochromatosis; a genetic mutation where the body absorbs too much dietary iron. 23&Me collects consumer DNA through saliva samples. From this, they are able to identify the two most common variants in the HFE gene. These variants disrupt the ability for the HFE protein to regulate iron absorption which results in Hereditary Hemochromatosis. The claims that are made on the health risk report are factually sound, but less than 99% valid. This is due to several factors such as mode of inheritance, number of genes, and environmental factors. Furthermore, there are some ethical implications of commercial genetic testing that include influence over decision making, privacy, and social/emotional consequences. From the business perspective, 23&Me competes with several other companies in their market. Their competitive advantage over these companies comes with their emotional and ethical appeal to their customers. With the use of real science and data, they supply users with information that allows them to gain often valuable personal insight.


Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 22, 2021.

The downloadable .mp4 video file is a poster presentation with audio commentary with a run time of 16:57.

Open Access

Available to all.