Vancouver startup uses DNA testing to customize diet and fitness programs

A Vancouver, Washington, company is blazing a new path in direct-to-consumer genetics testing by using the tests to tailor personalized diet and fitness programs.

Molecular Testing Labs claims to be the first company to introduce DNA testing for this purpose.

“The Diet-DNA and Fitness-DNA test empowers individuals with meaningful results they can understand,” Kelly Fobes, pharmacogenomics adviser at Molecular Testing Labs, said in a prepared statement. “The personalized DNA test results help women and men understand their genetic makeup, and explains how their body responds to food, nutrients, calories and different types of activities for maximum performance.”
The company charges $299 for a Diet-DNA test and $549 for a Fitness-DNA. Someone can swab their cheek at home and send in the sample for analysis.
The company says it chooses genes that can be most easily and effortlessly controlled to manage weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for weight-related morbidities. The fitness test purports to give information on the types of activities and exercises a person best responds to.
Molecular Testing Labs is far from the only company selling direct-to-consumer genetic testing. 23andMe, based in the Silicon Valley, has a $10 million partnership with Genentech to sequence the genomes of 3,000 customers with a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.
Its main service of individual genetic testing, showing the risk of developing different medical conditions, was shut down by the FDA two years ago over concerns about the public health consequences of inaccurate results.

Molecular Testing Lab’s tests don’t require FDA approval because they fall under the category of “laboratory developed tests.” The lab is also regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, a company spokesman said.

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