Knome: The Review

As today is the day when Knome launches the first commercial whole-genome sequencing and analysis service for individuals, I thought it’s time to write the review about them. If you want to read the review about 23andMe, Navigenics or Helix Health, check out this post.



  • Design: Too simplified. It looks like the site of 23andMe in the old days, so I’m pretty sure it’ll change a lot soon.


  • Informativeness: An About me page that mentions the founders; and a FAQ page that aims to answer all the important questions. Anyway, they fail to mention the details of their “comprehensive” analysis and the other team members like clinicians or geneticists. They don’t tell us how they predict disease-associated risks neither.
  • Team: The main advisor is unquestionably the best in the field of personalized genetics: George Church, the Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is a good reason to choose Knome, but he also is an advisor for  23andMe.


  • Method: Whole-genome sequencing which means not only the essential SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) will be analyzed, but the whole genetic code of an individual. Though, only the first 20 clients will have this historic opportunity. In my humble opinion, it’s too brave to say that in this period of research:

Whole-genome sequencing allows for the analysis of up to 2,000 common and rare conditions, and over 20,000 genes – numbers that are rapidly growing.

“Whole-genome sequencing is the endgame. It will enable us to look at nearly 100% of your genetic code compared to the less than 0.02% currently available on SNP chips. This is the approach that most fully reveals what our genomes can tell us about ourselves.”

  • Cost: The service will start at $350,000, including whole-genome sequencing and an analysis from a team of geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians who will also provide continued support and counseling.
  • Target, Research: The medical conditions they plan to analyze are not specified. Regarding research:

Another complementary mission of Knome is to provide researchers with access to sequenced whole genomes in order to enable Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). We believe that approaching interested individuals directly is the fastest way to create the critical data needed to make significant scientific breakthroughs. That is why we also offer each client the option of allowing researchers to have access to their anonymous sequenced genome. While we hope that a significant percentage of our customers will do so, it is not required.

Of course, it’s going to be the service of the richest people on Earth, but the 1000$ genome could also become reality maybe in the next year. I’m still skeptic as Knome doesn’t say a word about how they can connect the data of whole-genome sequencing to the future of my health.

Look, I’d be the happiest person in the world, if personalized genetics could be reached by anyone. Personalized genetics must be about science and not business. I couldn’t find a word mentioning the scientific background behind Knome or the scientific method they plan to work with.

At this time, it’s nearly impossible to tell specific disease-associated risks based on SNP analysis or even whole-genome sequencing. Let me know if I’m too skeptic.