Veritas Genetics review – Is the pioneer of personal genomics still the best?

Veritas Genetics Review Summary

Veritas Genetics was the first DNA testing company that offered affordable personal whole-genome sequencing. Learn more in our Veritas Genetics review!

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Summary

Veritas Genetics offers 30X whole genome sequencing for disease risks although it is more expensive than similar products.

4.3

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 Facts from our Veritas Genetics Review

  1. Location: Danvers, MA, USA
  2. Products: 30x whole genome sequencing
  3. Reporting: focus on disease risks and carrier screenings
  4. Ordering: requires a physician prescription
  5. Raw data download: VCF files available for $99 upon request
  6. Cost: $599 for 30x whole genome sequencing, advanced diagnostic DNA testing for $1,599 – $3,599
  7. Alternative product: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with weekly updated reports, data exploration tools, and advanced ancestry reporting)

Veritas Introduction

This is a review of Veritas Genetics, a personal genomics company that offers whole-genome sequencing. The company was founded in 2014 by George Church, CEO Mirza Cifric, Preston Estep, and Jonathan Zhao. Its goal is to empower people to live healthier, longer lives by driving accessibility to genomics across the globe.

Out of all the genetic testing companies, Veritas Genetics was the first to offer affordable personal genome sequencing to consumers and patients for less than $1000. It started as a personal genome project spun out of Harvard Medical School. The company is headquartered in Danvers, Massachusetts in the United States, including corporate offices in Europe and China. Read more in our Veritas Genetics review!

Veritas Genetics is currently not offering Whole Genome Sequencing as they are focused on COVID-19 testing. Check out Nebula Genomics instead! We offer the most affordable Whole Genome Sequencing that decodes 100% of your DNA! We also provide new reports every week that are based on the latest scientific discoveries. Click here to learn more!

Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS)

Veritas Genetics stands out from other personal genomics companies because it offers whole-genome DNA sequencing services. This is the gold standard for genetic testing because it reads out the entire 6.4 billion bases long human genome. It decodes almost 100% of the DNA while other technologies analyze less than 1% of the genome. 

The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. Since then the cost of whole-genome sequencing has decreased from billions of dollars to less than $1000. This has enabled the development of a personal genome sequencing industry. This is a significant advancement to the whole consumer genomics that has so far relied on much less comprehensive tests. 

Taking the Veritas Genetics Test

The flagship product of this company is myGenome, a Veritas Genetics whole genome sequencing and interpretation service.

The myGenome test kit can be purchased online at veritasgenetics.com.

Veritas Genetics requires a doctor to complete an authorization for the assessment of results. This helps customers make well-informed decisions on lifestyle changes, etc. In the absence of a physician, the company partners with third-party physicians. These physicians can sign-off the results for a fee. 

After customers order the test, the Veritas kit comes in a box with instructions for sample collection and container for easy and safe storage. They require a saliva sample from which the DNA is extracted and sequenced. Prior to sample collection, refraining from food, drinks, and brushing for at least 30 minutes is recommended. Once the sample has been collected, it can be mailed to the company’s CLIA-certified laboratory for analysis.

The sequencing is performed on Illumina NovaSeq 6000 systems with further validation of pathogenic genetic variants using Sanger sequencing. 

The results are made available to the consumer within 16 weeks, although the company says the wait is typically closer to 12 weeks. During this period of waiting, the customer can follow the status of the sample on their account portal. The report is made available to the authorized physician 72 hours prior. This allows the doctor to ease the discussion of any sensitive information.

Alongside the report, the company also offers a complimentary 15-20 minute session with a genetic counselor. This is particularly important for customers with specific findings in their report, marked in red. 

Products and Veritas Genetics Cost

The customer can choose from three different expert interpretation services: standard, premium, and diagnostic.

The standard Veritas genetic testing service caters to consumers that are interested in health testing and want to learn more about their risks of diseases. It includes information about drug sensitivities, over 40 carrier conditions, and over 200 genetic diseases. This DNA test is available for $599.

The premium service includes all the standard testing. Additionally, it provides more information on cancer (e.g. breast cancer), cardiovascular risks, and carrier conditions. This includes over 650 genetic conditions and over 225 carrier conditions. This genetic test is available for $1,599.

The diagnostic service catered towards patients that have a complex medical history who want to learn about underlying genetic causes. This may provide patients with medical management options or help with treatment decisions. The cost of this service ranges from $2,599 to $3,599.

Veritas Genetics customers can also purchase an additional hour-long genetic counseling session for $299.

Review of Veritas Genetics Reporting

Introduction to Veritas Genetic reporting

Veritas Genetics reporting provides information about their genetic risks for health conditions, disease carrier status and pharmacogenomics. 

The Veritas test report can be accessed from the dashboard of an online account. It can also be downloaded as a PDF file. The clinical section outlines the results associated with disease risks for diseases that are organized into the following categories.

  • Cancer Susceptibility
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Clotting Disorders
  • Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
  • Immune Disorders
  • Mitochondrial Conditions & Inheritance
  • Neurological disorders
  • Organ Health

A complete list of all analyzed genes and diseases can be found on their website. The findings are classified according to their potential impact on health.

Classification of health-related finding in Veritas Genetics reports.
Classification of health-related findings in Veritas Genetics reports.

The carrier section of the Veritas Genetics DNA report shows conditions that may be passed on to children. The pharmacogenomics section indicates if there are genetic factors that may influence response to certain medications.

Finally, there is a trait section that is organized into 12 categories. These include athleticism, nutrition, and more and an ancestry section is available as well.

To aid with the interpretation of the genetic data, Veritas Genetics uses machine learning and artificial intelligence. This has also helped with lowering the cost of the tests. It has also developed an open-source platform, Arvados, for storing and analyzing genomic data. It currently exceeds 20 petabytes and is used globally by pharmaceutical companies and research institutions. 

Access to Raw Genetic Data

A user’s raw DNA data can also be requested, though it is not free and immediately available. Access to VCF files costs $99 and takes 5-7 days to process and electronically deliver. The order can be placed by contacting Customer Support.

Review of Veritas Genetics Privacy

The information collected by Veritas Genetics includes name, ZIP code, phone number, email address, genetic information, and data from physicians. All this data is stored on a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant cloud service. This data is encrypted and stored on the cloud for 10 years for regulatory reasons. Veritas does not share the data with third parties without permission.

Veritas Genetics in the News

In 2016, Veritas Genetics became the first company to offer whole-genome sequencing for less than $1000. In July 2019 Veritas Genetics set a record by offering whole-genome sequencing for only $199, albeit for a limited time. 1000 genetic tests were sold in under 24 hours.

In December 2019 Veritas Genetics announced that it would temporarily suspend operations in the United States and began talks with potential buyers. The company continued to serve customers in Europe and Latin America through their active locations in Madrid and Shanghai. In January 2020, Veritas Genetics announced the reopening of its US services after some restructuring of its business. Moving forward, Veritas Genetics will be focusing on their diagnostic offering.

Awards and Recognition

Veritas Genetics was named a CNBC Disruptor 50 in 2018 and in 2019. It was recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of 50 Smartest Companies in 2016 and 2017.

Veritas Genetics Reviews 

Veritas Genetics has mostly positive reviews. However, a number of users mention the delay in getting their reports.

Veritas Genetics Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provides actionable insights into users’ health
  • Whole-genome sequencing
  • Easy sample collection at home
  • Range of tests available based on the desired level of information
  • Samples processed in CLIA-certified labs
  • Genetic counseling
  • Global customer support

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other services like 23andMe and AncestryDNA
  • Some customers have reported delays receiving their reports
  • Veritas Genetics Raw data only available upon request for an additional fee

Nebula Genomics

In this final part of our Veritas Genetics review, we will compare Veritas Genetics to Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies.

Veritas Genetics was the pioneer of affordable genome sequencing tests. However, additional fees for items such as raw DNA data access and more in-depth interpretation, start to increase the price. The analysis also must be ordered by a license physician, who will then interpret the results.

As genome sequencing has become even more accessible, Nebula Genomics now offers the most affordable sequencing of your entire genome, costing between $0 – $299. Nebula Genomics does not require a doctor’s order and can be ordered directly from a customer’s home. However, our Whole Genome Sequencing data is of the highest quality and can be used by physicians and genetic counselors.

Here’s a comparison between Veritas Genetics, Nebula Genomics, and other popular DNA testing companies.

23andMeAncestryDNAVeritas GeneticsNebula Genomics
TechnologyGenotypingGenotyping30X whole genome sequencing30X whole genome sequencing
Free DNA data uploadNoNoNoYes
Raw DNA data accessYes (free)Yes (free)Yes ($99)Yes (free)
Genetic CounselingNoNoYes (15-20 minute session included)No, but CLIA-certified lab data can be used in consultation with genetic counselors and medical providers.
Focus on PrivacyNoNoYes (learn more)Yes
Cost$99, $199, or $499$99 or $149$599 – $3,599$0 – $299

Veritas Genetics vs 23andMe vs AncestryDNA vs Nebula Genomics

Summary

Veritas Genetics has pioneered personal genome sequencing. It has created a path that other genetic testing companies focusing on genome sequencing, including Nebula Genomics, have since followed. With its new focus on diagnostic genetic testing, it is an option that patients should consider.

If you’re interested in learning about how your genetics may influence hereditary conditions, you may also be interested in these alternative clinical genetic testing companies:

Plus, check out more of the blog to learn more about the importance of sequencing Y-DNA and mtDNA and things like paternity testing.

To learn more about whole genome sequencing you should check out

  • Color Genomics (low coverage whole genome sequencing available)
  • Dante Labs ($599 for 30x whole genome sequencing, most reports are available at an additional cost)
  • Full Genomes ($75 to upload data – $2900 for most comprehensive DNA read)
  • Sano Genetics (free upload; whole genome sequencing $1200)
  • Sequencing.com ($399 for whole genome sequencing)
  • YSEQ ($929 for 30x whole genome sequencing)

Or would you like to contribute to genomic research but be compensated? Check our our Luna DNA review!

For reviews of more DNA testing companies take a look at our blog and see our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests for a comprehensive review.