Helix 2020 — обзор

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ПЛЮСЫ
  • DNA is analyzed through exome sequencing, not genotyping
  • A variety of test options for health/wellness and diet/fitness
  • Some reports seem exceptionally comprehensive
  • Some tests are available for free after you’ve bought others
  • Order additional reports without resubmitting your DNA
МИНУСЫ
  • Expensive compared to other testing companies
  • More detail may not mean more meaningful results
  • Only available/supported in the United States
  • Происхождение
  • Здоровье и благополучие
Автор — Moss Stern, 6 июня 2020 г.
  • Происхождение
  • Здоровье и благополучие

Many Specialized Reports to Choose From

Helix Review

Helix offers DNA tests for different purposes: health and wellness, diet and fitness, and ancestry. So far, not so different from many other DNA testing companies.

What sets this company apart is the way it uses exome sequencing rather than genotyping to analyze your DNA:

  • Genotyping is an analysis technique that examines a predetermined set of sites in your genome to draw conclusions about your ancestry, disease and carrier risks, and physical traits.
  • Exome sequencing is a technology that maps the entire protein-coding region of your genome, which (theoretically) should provide a more detailed and nuanced interpretation of your DNA.

Does this make Helix’s reports better? We’d better take a look to see if the higher prices are justified.

Taking the Test(s)

Helix sends you a kit so that you can collect and send in a one-time saliva sample for DNA analysis. The kit contains everything you need to put your DNA “on-file” for future reports, such as the add-on ancestry report.

Helix Review

Note that you can only order Helix test kits in the United States.

See Helix Deals

Helix’s Ancestry Test

People take ancestry DNA tests to discover the ethnicities of their ancestors, where they lived, and how they migrated around the globe. Helix’s only test of this kind is called Helix Ancestry.

Helix Ancestry

Helix Review

This test explores your ancestors’ ethnic roots, broken down into 26 global regions within eight broad geographic regions: East Asia, Europe, Indigenous America, Arctic, Oceania, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. It tells you the percentages of these ethnicities reflected in your DNA.

The report can also tell you some interesting things based on your detected genetic traits. For example, you’ll learn whether you’re genetically adapted to high altitudes (mainly people of Tibetan descent) or to survival in the Arctic.

More practical value may be obtained from knowing if you’re likely to be lactose intolerant, better able to metabolize fat (like an Inuit), or resistant to malaria.

To get this free report, you first have to have taken one of the wellness tests (discussed next), so that Helix has your DNA on file.

See Helix Deals

Similar Test Kits Available

This is an add-on report rather than a standalone test, but it’s similar to the ancestry tests offered by these alternative providers:

  • 23andMe includes more features than Helix, including 1,500+ geo regions, maternal and paternal haplogroups, and Neanderthal ancestry.
  • AncestryDNA covers more than 500 geographical regions, includes genealogy functionality (for an additional cost), and allows you to connect with other customers who are related to you.
  • MyHeritage is one of the most affordable ancestry tests, which covers 42 geographical regions and helps you build an online family tree (accessing historical records costs extra).

Possibly Worth the Price for Exome Sequencing

Helix accepts payments via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and most other credit cards.

Most of Helix’s DNA tests are more expensive than similar ones from other companies, which could be because of its exome sequencing approach (rather than the more usual genotyping).

However, Helix does offer three tests for free, if you are already a Helix customer. After an initial purchase, you can also access most other tests at a discounted rate (sometimes at just 10% of the list price)!

Exome sequencing can identify the genetic variants in all of an individual’s genes, including very rare genetic variants that are only present in a small number of individuals. If this means it can pick up the gene variants for a rare Mendelian disease, it may well be worth paying the high price – at least for the first test.

Происхождение
Ancestry
  • Результаты разделены на 26 региональных групп
  • Узнайте, адаптированы ли вы к тем или иным условиям (высокогорья, арктического климата и т.д.)
  • Отдельный тест позволит узнать, есть ли у вас предки-неандертальцы

Support Is Satisfactory If You Ask a Specific Question

Helix’s self-support resources are provided in the form of a searchable Help Center populated with articles arranged into various categories. The accompanying chatbot always appears to be offline, but maybe I’ve just been unlucky.

Helix Review

If the self-support resources don’t answer your questions, you can call the company or fill out the “Contact Customer Support” form. I submitted an initial question to ask about whether the reports were worth the cost, and the support agent responded with a somewhat generic answer.

I asked a second question about the availability of tests internationally. This time, I received a more targeted response:

Helix Review

See Helix Deals

Higher Prices for Better Insights (and Some Free Stuff)

One of Helix’s key selling points is its use of exome sequencing rather than genotyping, which means that – theoretically – it could discover predispositions to rare genetic diseases that other companies’ DNA tests don’t detect. I can’t be sure that it does, and since I’m unlikely to be one of those rare cases, I’d personally prefer to take my chances with one of the other testing companies that cost less.

It is true to say that Helix goes into greater detail than most of its competitors in certain areas. For example, its CarrierCheck tests your carrier status for 67 different conditions. Likewise, the GenePrism: Actionable Insights report includes genetic risks for 32 diseases.

If you do decide to make the purchase, remember that getting your genome sequenced via one of Helix’s expensive tests also entitles you to free additional reports for Ancestry and Wellness (including one specifically for Women’s Wellness). Be sure to put these in your cart for better value-for-money.

See Helix Deals

FAQ

How accurate is Helix?

Helix is adequate in terms of accuracy. However, it can’t yet compare to some of the bigger names on the market, e.g., 23andMe and AncestryDNA. That’s in part due to its database size, which is comparably much smaller.

How long does it take to receive results from a Helix test?

Approximately 1-2 months.

How much does a Helix test cost? (Any discounts?)

Most of Helix’s DNA products are on the more expensive side of the pricing spectrum (144,99 $) than what you’d get from similar companies. That’s probably due to the testing methodology it uses (exome sequencing approach). On the bright side, however, Helix does offer three tests for free if you’re a customer already. After an initial purchase, you can also access most other tests at a discounted rate (sometimes at just 10% of the list price).

Who should consider taking a Helix test?

Given that Helix uses exome genome sequencing, which (in theory) can discover predispositions to rare genetic diseases better than other methods, you should consider this company if you’re willing to take a calculated risk with a company that may provide you with better health screening than some of the bigger names out there, like 23andMe. At the very least, keep it in mind if you’re looking for a lot of detail, because Helix definitely ticks that box.

Many Specialized Reports to Choose From

Helix Review

Helix offers DNA tests for different purposes: health and wellness, diet and fitness, and ancestry. So far, not so different from many other DNA testing companies.

What sets this company apart is the way it uses exome sequencing rather than genotyping to analyze your DNA:

  • Genotyping is an analysis technique that examines a predetermined set of sites in your genome to draw conclusions about your ancestry, disease and carrier risks, and physical traits.
  • Exome sequencing is a technology that maps the entire protein-coding region of your genome, which (theoretically) should provide a more detailed and nuanced interpretation of your DNA.

Does this make Helix’s reports better? We’d better take a look to see if the higher prices are justified.

Taking the Test(s)

Helix sends you a kit so that you can collect and send in a one-time saliva sample for DNA analysis. The kit contains everything you need to put your DNA “on-file” for future reports, such as the add-on ancestry report.

Helix Review

Note that you can only order Helix test kits in the United States.

See Helix Deals

Helix’s Health and Wellness Tests

These tests aim to help you identify your genetic risks for certain diseases or your carrier status for conditions you could pass on to your children. They can also help you identify wellness issues to do with things like sleep, caffeine consumption, and stress. Since these are considered to be genetic “traits,” some of them can be found in the Ancestry & Traits section of Helix’s website (rather than the Health section).

GenePrism: Actionable Insights

This test (by PerkinElmer Genomics) tells you if you’re at elevated genetic risk of disease, so that you can make more informed health decisions for you and your family. It features:

  • Tests for 32 inherited cancers, heart disease, and other health conditions
  • Actionable advice on disease prevention and early detection
  • Access to a genetic counselor at no additional cost

Mayo Clinic GeneGuideTM

This test can tell you how genetics can affect your health, disease risk, and carrier status. However, not everyone will qualify. You need to first submit a health questionnaire to be approved by a PWNHealth physician before your test is ordered. The report features:

  • Personalized insights and interactive tools
  • Four disease risk reports; four carrier status reports
  • Your response to certain medications (e.g., Ibuprofen metabolism)
  • The authority of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic
  • The ability to build a family tree, to document your relatives’ health history

CarrierCheck

This test assesses your carrier status for 67 inherited conditions, which is a lot more than most other companies’ carrier tests. This is great if you’re planning to start a family and want to be proactive about your child’s health. The report features:

  • Access to educational resources, to learn more about the tested conditions
  • Access to genetic counselors who can answer your questions

Heart Start

The test provides detailed insights into your genetic risk for cardiovascular disease, and it tells you what you can do about it. It features:

  • Blood-based lab testing as well as genetic analysis from your saliva sample
  • Measurements of total lipid amounts and fatty acids, plus markers of inflammation, to give a comprehensive look at your heart health
  • Telephone consultations and lab appointments to suit your schedule

Note that this test requires you to get your blood drawn as well as submitting a saliva sample.

Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score  

This test is intended to measure your lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer. Please note that only males of African American, East Asian, and Non-Hispanic White ethnic backgrounds are able to order this test. You’ll need to first submit a health questionnaire to determine if you are eligible. The test features:

  • Assessment of multiple genetic markers to calibrate your risk profile
  • Guidance on making more informed decisions about screening
  • Access to genetic counseling

See Helix Deals

Similar Test Kits Available

  • 23andMe assesses your genetic risk for 13 common diseases and your carrier status for 44 congenital conditions. Its test explores traits related to sleep, weight, muscle composition, and more, and it comes with a very detailed ancestry report.
  • MyHeritage looks at your risk for 12 diseases and provides polygenic risk scores for heart disease and diabetes. It also assesses your carrier status for 13 congenital conditions, and it is among the most affordable tests in this category.
  • AncestryDNA addresses only six disease risks and three carrier statuses, and it provides “key takeaways” to help mitigate your disease risk. It also examines traits such as vitamin absorption, lactose tolerance, and caffeine consumption.

Possibly Worth the Price for Exome Sequencing

Helix accepts payments via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and most other credit cards.

Most of Helix’s DNA tests are more expensive than similar ones from other companies, which could be because of its exome sequencing approach (rather than the more usual genotyping).

However, Helix does offer three tests for free, if you are already a Helix customer. After an initial purchase, you can also access most other tests at a discounted rate (sometimes at just 10% of the list price)!

Exome sequencing can identify the genetic variants in all of an individual’s genes, including very rare genetic variants that are only present in a small number of individuals. If this means it can pick up the gene variants for a rare Mendelian disease, it may well be worth paying the high price – at least for the first test.

Происхождение
Ancestry
  • Результаты разделены на 26 региональных групп
  • Узнайте, адаптированы ли вы к тем или иным условиям (высокогорья, арктического климата и т.д.)
  • Отдельный тест позволит узнать, есть ли у вас предки-неандертальцы

Support Is Satisfactory If You Ask a Specific Question

Helix’s self-support resources are provided in the form of a searchable Help Center populated with articles arranged into various categories. The accompanying chatbot always appears to be offline, but maybe I’ve just been unlucky.

Helix Review

If the self-support resources don’t answer your questions, you can call the company or fill out the “Contact Customer Support” form. I submitted an initial question to ask about whether the reports were worth the cost, and the support agent responded with a somewhat generic answer.

I asked a second question about the availability of tests internationally. This time, I received a more targeted response:

Helix Review

See Helix Deals

Higher Prices for Better Insights (and Some Free Stuff)

One of Helix’s key selling points is its use of exome sequencing rather than genotyping, which means that – theoretically – it could discover predispositions to rare genetic diseases that other companies’ DNA tests don’t detect. I can’t be sure that it does, and since I’m unlikely to be one of those rare cases, I’d personally prefer to take my chances with one of the other testing companies that cost less.

It is true to say that Helix goes into greater detail than most of its competitors in certain areas. For example, its CarrierCheck tests your carrier status for 67 different conditions. Likewise, the GenePrism: Actionable Insights report includes genetic risks for 32 diseases.

If you do decide to make the purchase, remember that getting your genome sequenced via one of Helix’s expensive tests also entitles you to free additional reports for Ancestry and Wellness (including one specifically for Women’s Wellness). Be sure to put these in your cart for better value-for-money.

See Helix Deals

FAQs

How accurate is Helix?

Helix is adequate in terms of accuracy. However, it can’t yet compare to some of the bigger names on the market, e.g., 23andMe and Ancestry DNA, when in this area. That’s in part due to its database size, which is comparably much smaller.

How long does it take to receive results from a Helix test?

Approximately 1-2 months.

How does Helix compare to other DNA testing competitors?

Helix performs exome sequencing on your DNA sample. This is a technology that charts the entire protein-coding region of your genome. In theory, this type of sequencing should provide a more detailed and nuanced perspective on your DNA.

How much does a Helix test cost? (Any discounts?)

Most of Helix’s DNA products are on the more expensive side of the pricing spectrum than what you’d get from similar companies. That’s probably due to the testing methodology it uses (exome sequencing approach). On the bright side, however, Helix does offer three tests for free if you’re a customer already. After an initial purchase, you can also access most other tests at a discounted rate (sometimes at just 10% of the list price).

Who should consider taking a Helix test?

Given that Helix uses exome genome sequencing , which (in theory) can discover predispositions to rare genetic diseases better than other methods, you consider this company if you’re willing to take a calculated risk with a company that may provide you with better health screening than some of the bigger names out there, like 23andMe. At the very least, keep it in mind if you’re looking for a lot of detail, because Helix definitely ticks that box.

Moss Stern
Moss Stern
Автор
Moss Stern is a professional writer, amateur musician, voracious fiction reader, recreational bicyclist, cutthroat Scrabble player, and gleeful health and science nerd. He resides in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

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