DandyID Partners with Barakhamba Biotech to Offer DNA Sequencing

By | March 31, 2009

dna_swabGotcha!  This post was actually part of an April Fools’ Day joke.  Thanks for playing along, though!  We had a lot of fun coming up with this, and you have to admit, it would be rather cool…

We’re thrilled to announce today that we’ve partnered with New Dehli, India-based biotechnology company Barakhamba Biotech to offer genotype sequencing to our customers.  For $199,  you will be able to purchase a “spit test” kit directly from your DandyID dashboard.   The kit contains a saliva swab, instructions, and discreet, postage-paid, padded mailer.  You simply collect a sample of your DNA by swabbing the inside of your cheek, place the sample in the included protective plastic tube, and drop it in the mail to be sent back to Barakhamba.  In 10 to 12 weeks DandyID will receive a digital representation of your DNA genotype, which will then be tied to your account.

Why are you doing this?

DandyID is committed to helping users truly own their online identities.  Unfortunately, even though the web is getting more social every day, it is still a largely impersonal medium.  Because of that, identity fraud is a major issue.  By offering a way for users to tie their social identities to their DNA code — something that can’t easily be faked! — we’re offering an added layer of verification. Your genetic markup acts as a unique fingerprint that securely and accurately verifies that your online identities really belong to you.

Why have you partnered with Barakhamba Biotech instead of a more well-known, US company like 23andMe?

Barakhamba Biotech is one of the world’s most advanced biotechnology firms.  Their labs operate at CLIA-level standards, and Barakhamba is the only non-US lab to receive approval from the US Department of Health and Human Services to provide genetic genotyping services for diagnostic use in American hospitals.  Many local crime labs at police departments around the United States also routinely outsource their DNA testing to Barakhamba Biotech.

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Because costs are lower in New Dehli than they are in the United States, we’re able to offer a world-class genetic analysis and identification service at a much lower cost.

dna_labWhat else can I learn from my DNA?

Though it won’t be in the in initial release, we have a number of amazing new features planned around your genetic information.  We’ll reveal these new features over the next couple of months, but here’s a taste: how about spot-on social network suggestions based on your unique genetic markers? how about being able to hook you up with new friends based on a never-before-available genetic matchmaking service?  The possibilities are truly endless!

Additionally, for an extra $99, Barakhamba can provide you with a range of additional information gleaned from your genetic code.  Learn about your ancestry, your predisposition to over 100 different genetic traits and diseases, and what sorts of things you may pass on to your children.

Will this affect developers that use DandyID’s API?

That’s one of the most exciting parts of this entire announcement: in July, we’re planning to roll out a new version of our API that will include hooks into users’ DNA information!  That should enable exciting, never-before-possible genetic mashups.  Imagine getting truly personal recommendations based on something as infallible as your genetic code, or resting easy knowing that when making an online purchase, your identity has been verified securely by your own genetics!

Of course, allowing your genetic code to be made available via the DandyID API will be a strictly opt-in program.  Further, for our US-based users, the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits discrimination by health insurance companies and employers based on genetic information, which makes sharing your genetic information via the DandyID API a safe and rewarding option.

When will this be available?

We expect to launch this program on our site sometime in mid-May, with the API tie-in to launch a couple of months after that.  Keep an eye on this blog for further announcements regarding this exciting new parternship!

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