This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.
January 8, 2021
Table of Contents
- 7 Facts from our Orig3n Review
- Orig3n Introduction
- Taking the Orig3n DNA Test
- Orig3n DNA Test Reviews and Pricing
- Review of an Orig3n Report
- Raw Genetic Data
- Research Program
- Orig3n in the News
- Orig3n Reviews
- Pros and Cons
- Nebula Genomics
7 Facts from our Orig3n Review
- Orig3n location: Boston, USA
- Products: 19 different DNA testing kit for various traits
- Reports: focus on diet plan and fitness recommendations to fine tune routines
- DNA data access: not available
- Result accuracy: reported tampering with customer reports
- Cost: $29 to $150
- Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with weekly updated reports (incl. diet), data exploration tools, and advanced ancestry reporting)
This is a review of Orig3n (Origen), a Boston based biotech company founded by Robin Smith and Kate Blanchard in 2014. The company is one of the DNA sites that offer direct-to-consumer DNA health tests. When it was founded, the company was marketed as a regenerative medicine company. By 2016, it re-branded itself in the consumer DNA testing market to help predict your future health.
Like many DNA interpretation sites, the Orig3n DNA test kits analyze a set of genes (up to 24). To generate a genetic profile, the analysis compares the customer’s DNA, for things like fatty acid response, fat processing ability for monounsaturated fat, and sweet tooth tendencies against known genetic sequences found in the scientific literature.
Taking the Orig3n DNA Test
Currently, Orig3n offers 19 different kits that range in price from $29 to $149. However, all 19 appears to be based on a single genotyping test and just the reporting is sold separately.
Customers order a kit online. They collect DNA samples with a 30-second cheek swab and send it to the Orig3n lab in a prepaid envelope. Customers register and view their reports online or in the Orig3n Lifeprofile app. With this free app, you’ll have access to your results anywhere. It is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
Orig3n does not allow its customers to upload DNA from other DNA analysis websites.
Orig3n DNA Test Reviews and Pricing
Orig3n has 19 unique DNA tests ranging from $29 to $150.
|NUTRITION DNA TESTS|
Nutrition – $149.00
Vitamins – $49.00
Hunger & Weight – $49.00
Lactose Intolerance – $29.00
ALDH2 Deficiency – $29.00
Caffeine Tolerance – $29.00
|FITNESS DNA TESTS|
Fitness – $149.00
U.S. Ski & Snowboard – $149.00
Run – $99.00
Metabolism – $49.00
Joint Care – $39.00
Recovery & Renewal – $49.00
|BEAUTY DNA TESTS|
Beauty – $99.00
Skin Health and Appearance – $49.00
Skin Aging – $49.00Hair – $39.00
|OTHER DNA TESTS|
Child Development – $99.00
Superhero DNA test – $29.00
Behavior – $79.00
Orig3n also offers one bundle and one subscription service.
- Fitness and Nutrition DNA Test Bundle (includes everything from food breakdown to muscle efficiency): $298
- Personalized Vitamin Subscriptions: $601 (12 months), $351 (6 months), or $201 (3 months). The subscription includes a personalized vitamin selection created using nutrient recommendations based on the customer’s genes. Customers also receive 1-3 free DNA tests based on your subscription package that they choose.
Review of an Orig3n Report
Orig3n customers can access their DNA test results in three ways: online, as a PDF, and through the mobile app.
The report is divided into sections that reflect the traits being analyzed. For example, the Child Development DNA Test organizes the results into four categories: enlightenment, fitness, health, and nutrition. A number of genes are analyzed under each category. For the nutrition tests, categories include food breakdown hunger and weight and vitamins. For the fitness category, Orig3n report examines “genes affecting strength, muscle force, endurance, and other fitness capacities that influence sports performance growing up.” The fitness test also includes muscle strength. It is one way in which Orig3n analyzes fitness potential.
As another example, the Run gene test categorizes its results into run endurance, recovery, training, and nutrition. You may discover that you are genetically predisposed to thrive with specific types of workouts, such as those that are shorter, but with high intensity.
Each category contains multiple traits of interest. For example, the Run training section includes specific information on cardiac output, training response, pain tolerance, strength building, pain sensitivity, and lean body mass.
When viewing the various traits, the customer will see the gene associated with each trait. Furthermore, there is a ranking system. It indicates whether the individual who took the DNA test is considered Adept, Normal, or Gifted in these traits, according to their genes.
Selecting one of these traits reveals more information. This part of the report contains the gene, the genetic trait, and the genetic variant of the gene they possess (i.e. CC, CT, TT, etc.).
Next, the customer can see how prevalent this genotype is in the general population and description of the trait. Additionally, recommendations for lifestyle choices are shown.
A comprehensive review of reports for the superhero, behavior, and child development DNA tests are available from other review companies. Orig3n DNA tests are not diagnostic tests and cannot predict your future health. Orig3n states that they sell products not intended to be substitutes for medical advice. Products, including data, text, images, and graphics are for informational purposes. If you have questions about a medical issue, please see your doctor.
Orig3n operates its own labs which means that customer data is not sent to third-party testing facilities. They encrypt test results before sending them back to the customer.
The company states that customers are always opted out by default from sharing genetic information with researchers. Customers may choose to include their Orig3n results in this research if they wish.
Orig3n states that all genetic information is kept private. This information will only be used for the intended services unless the customer chooses to share it.
DNA samples are retained by Orig3n. Customers may request that their samples be destroyed by sending a notice to customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, Orig3n will retain DNA test results and samples as may be required by law. They will also transfer samples and data in the event that the company is acquired by another company.
Raw Genetic Data
You cannot download raw genetic data from Orig3n.
Orig3n has a research program that focuses on regenerative medicine. They aim to develop new therapies that heal damaged tissue with stem cells. Orig3n is using Nobel prize-winning technology, which transforms ordinary blood cells into stem cells.
Orig3n collects blood samples from people at events across the country. The cells in these samples are then transformed into stem cells. These reprogrammed stem cells are used for cell therapy research and then stored at a research lab in Boston.
Orig3n in the News
Orig3n hosts a number of promotional events. Traditionally, their Orig3n health and wellness expo is held in conjunction with Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers Race, a 100-year old foot race starting in San Francisco Bay.
However, in the past few years, Orig3n has been involved in several controversies. In 2017, it’s promotion to give away free tests to Baltimore Raven football players was canceled. This was due to claims that they failed to obtain certification under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA).
Later that year, Orig3n purchased Interleukin Genetics, which came with a CLIA certified genotyping laboratory in Waltham, Massachusetts.
In 2018, NBC Chicago ran a story on DNA testing kits and submitted DNA from a dog, labrador retriever. Most companies indicated that the DNA was unreadable. Orig3n not only failed to recognize that the DNA was not human, but produced a 7-page report. Such reports fuel claims of an Orig3n scam.
Finally, in 2019, 17 former Orig3n employees made serious claims of company misuse of samples in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.
Some complaints included error-prone tests that did not produce replicable results. The former employees claimed the errors were concealed by tampering the data. A laboratory technician reported 407 errors with 2000 tests over a period of three months. Other complaints included failure to meet basic scientific standards when providing DNA analysis.
Orig3n Nutrition DNA Test Review: The most widely reviewed Orig3n test on Amazon is the Orig3n Nutrition DNA Test. This DNA test covers topics such as food breakdown and food sensitivity. It has 156 reviews and an average rating of 2.6 out of 5 stars. Most of the negative reviews report long processing times and failure to receive reports. Multiple customers have said that that inquires were met with responses that only partial reports were available at that time.
There have been a number of Twitter complaints from customers who had been waiting a long time for results. The company is responsive and asks customers to direct message them the relevant information.
After the 2019 accusations by former employees, Orig3n such as Innerbody Research has retracted previous recommendation.
Pros and Cons
- 19 different testing options to choose from
- Ability to view your results in the web browser or on a mobile app
- In house genetics lab
- Genetic information is not shared with third-parties
- Questionable science practices brought up by former employees
- Unable to upload raw DNA data files from other genetic testing sites
- Unable to download raw DNA data that was produced by Orig3n
- Not a substitute for professional medical judgment
In this final part of our Orig3n review, we will compare it to Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies.
Nebula Genomics distinguishes itself from Orig3n and other genetic testing companies through its commitment to customer needs. Specifically, Nebula Genomics focuses on privacy and empowering its users to explore their genomic data.
Your privacy is central
At Nebula Genomics, we are also aware of the privacy concerns that many people have in regards to genetics testing. Therefore, we are building the first privacy-focused personal genomics service that uses technologies such as blockchain and privacy-preserving computing. At Nebula Genomics, we also give you full access to all your genomic data that you can download at any time. You can read more about the importance of DNA privacy here.
Our Whole-Genome Sequencing
Our goal is to empower our customers to go beyond genetics tests that are offered by companies like Orig3n. Orig3n offers many different tests for specific genes and traits like fitness and beauty. Nebula Genomics offers only a single test. It is full DNA sequencing that reveals 100% of your DNA information and can be used to learn about any trait.
We also offer customers the ability to discover their ancestry through our partnership with FamilyTreeDNA. Our ancestry analysis is most advanced because we fully sequence mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes.
Explore your Genes
We believe that you should have the power to explore your genome on your terms. Other DNA analysis websites like Orig3n analyze your genes and send you a single report. With Nebula Genomics, our exploration tools provide you with a dynamic experience to explore your genome.
You can examine genes of interest, identify relevant mutations, and search for genetic variants. You can even view your sequencing data from your own computer. We also send our users weekly updates that are based on the latest scientific discoveries.
|DNA Testing Method||Microarray-based genotyping||Microarray-based genotyping||Microarray-based genotyping||Whole Genome Sequencing (30x coverage)|
|Ancestry analysis available||No||Yes||Yes||Deep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing|
|Tools to explore data||No||Limited||Limited||Yes (learn more)|
|Able to upload raw DNA data||No||No||No||Yes (23andMe and Ancestry)|
|Data access||No||Yes (23andMe format file)||Yes (Ancestry format file)||Yes (FASTQ, BAM, and VCF files)|
|Number of different DNA kits||19||3||2||1 (whole-genome sequencing)|
|Cost||$29-$149||$99, $199, or $499||$99 or $149||$0 – $299|
As other alternatives to the Orig3n DNA test, we recommend taking a look at:
- Athletigen (free upload and basic report; additional tests and reports available at an additional cost)
- CircleDNA (health and wellness)
- DNAFit (in partnership with CircleDNA)
- Fitness Genes (data upload and DNA testing kits)
- FoundMyFitness (one-time report or lifetime updates and other perks with subscription)
- GeneFood (data upload and a personalized nutrition test)
- Genomelink (fitness information)
- Helix DNA (DNA test plus additional cost for the apps)
- Living DNA (well-being kits)
- Noom (subscription based nutrition service)
- Nutrisystem (subscription based nutrition service)
- Promethease (health information)
- SelfDecode (wellness reports)
- Sequencing.com (fitness app purchased separately)
- Vitagene (diet and health)
- Xcode Life (fitness and health report)
Other alternatives include GenoPalate, Everlywell (biomarkers), Onegevity (gut health testing with personalized recommendations), Psomagen (gut health testing), Viome (another gut microbiome test) and tellmeGen.
You may also be interested to know that Orig3n has partnered with the weight loss company Noom to offer an Orig3n Noom DNA test.
There are a lot of great supplement companies out there that may help you lose weight and get healthy (you can read about many of them on our blog!) But be careful! There are also dangerous experimental drugs out there like SR9009 and RAD 140 that are not approved for human consumption.
Did you like our Orig3n review? You can find more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests!