Ancestry Launches NGS Tests With Family History Component

August 4, 2020

By Bio-IT World Staff

August 4, 2020 | Ancestry launched AncestryHealth yesterday powered by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Beginning Aug. 3, AncestryHealth powered by NGS is available to adults (ages 18+) in the United States, with the exception of New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, for $179. Existing AncestryDNA customers can upgrade to AncestryHealth for $99.

The NGS technology was developed by Quest Diagnostics and replaces the microarray-based AncestryHealth Core. It is an upgrade to AncestryDNA + Traits, adding genetic health risk reports, a family health history tool, and other resources.

“As the market leader in consumer genomics for more than a decade, we are proud to make an important leap forward in democratizing access to comprehensive genetic health risk detection,” said Margo Georgiadis, president and chief executive officer at Ancestry in a press release. “We are committed to our long-term vision of helping millions get on the path toward living longer, healthier lives through affordable personalized, preventive health screening in partnership with the healthcare ecosystem.”

AncestryHealth includes cancer risk reports for hereditary breast & ovarian cancer and Lynch Syndrome (colon cancer risk). It includes carrier status tests for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs disease. The test returns reports on connective tissue disorders including classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Marfan syndrome, and vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The service also issues reports on heart and blood health including cardiomyopathy, familial hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol risk), hereditary hemochromatosis (iron overload risk), and hereditary thrombophilia (blood clot risk) as well as wellness reports, which include caffeine metabolism, alcohol flush, and muscle composition.

The reports themselves include the NGS findings, a summary of key takeaways, a visual illustration of risk—what does 52% look like in a population of 100?—genetic counseling support and actionable next steps.  Two different downloadable reports are made available: one for your physician to take to any follow up appointments, and one for family or close friends who need to know more about your findings.

AncestryHealth calls the new offering, “a new era in consumers’ access to important information about their health.”

Adding Health History

In addition to the NGS-based reports, AncestryHealth includes step-by-step guidance for tracking and recording family health history all in one place. In partnership with PWNHealth, an independent network of board-certified genetic counselors, geneticists, physicians and other allied health professionals, AncestryHealth will include educational resources and remote access to genetic counselors.

The platform also allows users to create and download a family health history record they can use to facilitate discussions and reduce the burden of filling out forms. Family health history is a critical piece of the puzzle that, combined with the comprehensive genetic health information offered by NGS, can provide a more holistic view of an individual’s health risks.

“When it comes to your health and your family’s health, the more you know, the better,” said Dr. Ron Park, MD, EVP of Health and DNA, Ancestry said in the announcement. “With the launch of AncestryHealth powered by NGS, we are helping people have access to more comprehensive data about their genetic risks—and providing support with understanding those risks—at a time when protecting our health is a major concern.”