Image credits: 23andMe


For £149 and a vial of your saliva, 23andMe will analyse your DNA and send you a full report about your family history and your risk of developing certain diseases. Even while the genome-testing service was briefly banned in the US in 2013, it continued to roll out its services in the UK. But the company doesn’t just earn money selling affordable self-test kits. 23andMe also earns money by offering access to the data-sets they aggregate from those genetic tests to multiple pharmaceutical companies and research labs. In 2015, it made a deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to sell access to its ‘research portal’ of nearly 700,000 people’s DNA to help Pfizer in developing mental health drugs, among other products. Such collaborations may indeed lead to the next big cure or miracle drug, but they also can lead to huge profits for a host of other companies you might not be aware of when you spit into the tube.