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DNA Testing: A Growth Market

This story appears in the February 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

that can help determine a person's ancestry, predisposition for diseases and possible adverse reactions to drugs has exploded in the past few years, creating a cottage industry of gene-tracing companies that some are comparing to the dotcom boom. "Once these genomic companies get the formula right, they could be very, very successful," says Quintin Lai, senior research analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.

Mountain View, California-based started with from in 2006 and has since become a pioneer in direct-to-consumer genotyping--DNA testing that looks for known markers to reveal information about everything from a person's muscle performance to a possibility that he or she might develop diabetes. Consumers send in saliva and four to six weeks later, log on to a web page with a personalized genetic analysis. "We're confident we will have a viable business," says 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey, 49. "But we're still in startup mode."

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