Elon Musk-backed Thud launches DNA Friend, poking fun at DNA testing

on Mar19
by | Comments Off on Elon Musk-backed Thud launches DNA Friend, poking fun at DNA testing |

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.

DNA Friend is a new consumer genetics company that aims to rival 23andMe with its “fastest and freest DNA testing service.”

The only difference?

It’s a total parody.

DNA Friend, which has both a website and social media presence, is a creation of Thud, a new media project run by former Onion staffers and originally backed by Elon Musk. According to the Atlantic, Tesla’s CEO originally owned the business but sold it to former editors at the Onion — Ben Berkley and Cole Bolton — back in January. Musk once referred to the Onion “the greatest publication in the history of all conscious beings, living or dead,” indicating a deep affinity for satire.

The fact that Thud chose the DNA testing space as a first target is revealing, health experts suggest.

The space is booming, with at-home DNA testing company 23andMe alone claiming to have more than 8 million users. Ancestry, its chief rival, has more than 10 million in its database. But the market, which is expected to be worth more than $22 billion by 2024, is also under fire for a range of issues, including the lack of consumer privacy protections, recent involvements with law enforcement, and the questionable clinical utility.

“Consumer genetics companies have a challenging job of building more applications of genomics to attract more customers, but also building applications responsibly to ensure scientific validity,” said David Mittelman, a former chief scientific officer of Family Tree DNA, a consumer genetics company, and a geneticist.

“It’s a hard balancing act,” he said, noting that the parody site “highlights some of the more recent failures in the space.”

On its website and social media channels, DNA Friend rips into DNA testing companies for charging consumers to tell them obvious things, such as an estimate of eye and hair color.

“I always suspected I had brown eyes, but DNA Friend totally confirmed it,” said one customer in a testimonial.



Previous postTilray, Del Taco Restaurants and more Next postSkating Rink Owner Found Shot in Burning Building Dies


Los Angeles Financial times


Copyright © 2021 Los Angeles Financial times

Updates via RSS
or Email