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Full Genomes Review: Is Whole Genome Sequencing Worth the Cost?

Written by Jeffrey | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: WGS and Y chromosome Sequencing and Analysis
  2. Cost: $15 – $2900
  3. Reports: Sequencing lab analysis and Full Genomes Analysis
  4. Raw data access: Yes
  5. Privacy: Full Genomes gives its customers full control over their data.
  6. Alternatives: SelfDecode – The best option for health-focused DNA analysis with personalized reports, symptom analysis, and health recommendations.

Pros

  • Extremely extensive library for Y-Chromosome SNPs
  • Full access to raw DNA data provided
  • Reviews suggest good customer support

Cons

  • Results can be complicated to understand
  • Customers are responsible for paying for shipping both ways
  • WGS is still very expensive considering its limited benefits

About Full Genomes

Full Genomes is a DNA testing company that specializes in full genetic mapping to provide individuals with detailed information about their ancestry and health. The Full Genomes corporation is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, USA, and was founded in 2012 by CEO Justin Loe, Paul Conroy, Leon Kull, and Abdullah Marafi.

Full Genomes was the first company in the United States to offer a next-generation sequencing test of the Y chromosome in January 2013. It was the first company to offer whole genome sequencing without a doctor’s order in January 2015. The founders are citizen scientists and active in the genetic genealogy community.

Review of Full Genomes Products & Features

One of this company’s biggest draws is that it offers high-quality whole genome sequencing. This company offers several different tiers of its whole genome sequencing service, which are largely determined by the ‘coverage’ or read length. Coverage, in this context, refers to how accurate the sequencing results are. For example, 20x coverage will produce more accurate results than 10x coverage.

Whole Genome Analysis

If you have already had your DNA sequenced, you can upload your raw data to get it analyzed. Full Genomes offers the following tests:

  • Whole Genome Sequence 15x, 20x, or 30x coverage: This is described as “next-generation” sequencing coverage.
  • Long Read Whole Chromosome: The company’s most comprehensive genetic test uses linked-reads to facilitate the discovery of large structural rearrangements in the genome.

Y chromosome sequencing and analysis

The sequencing of the Y chromosome is available for males who want to reconstruct their paternal phylogenetic tree.

  • Analysis of Y BAM files: If you already have a Y BAM file, you can upload it to analyze your paternal ancestry.
  • Y Elite Ancestry Test for Men: This is a Y chromosome sequencing service. With this package, you can connect to other people around the world who share your paternal lineage.

Additional services

In addition to the services described above, the company offers several other services for those people who already have their DNA sequence information.

  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) Test: This service is for individuals who just want to upload their genetic data to look for a single, specific genetic variant at the single base pair difference level.
  • Whole Genome GRCh38 Alignment: If you have a FASTQ file or a GRCh37 BAM file, this service can generate the latest GRCh38 version.
  • Forensic SNP Imputation: This service allows you to upload your genetic data to compare it against the Full Genomes database to determine if you have any relatives within the database.
  • Exome Sequencing: The exome (about 1% of your genome) refers to the pieces of your DNA that code for proteins. This is where most disease-related mutations are thought to occur.

Review of Full Genomes Reports

Several weeks after you return your samples to the lab, you will receive an email invitation to set up an account with FullGenomes. You will need an account to view your results. As is the case with many DNA analysis services, wait time for results can vary.

There have been cases when results have been delayed due to the lab seeking a more comprehensive analysis. Interpretation results will be available for download once you have received the email and logged into your account. The ‘Interpretation Results’ contain several files and instructions.

The results require more work and understanding of the consumer end than many other DNA testing companies. To make sense of the files provided, you will need to use an additional third-party software such as Promethease. You can read a full Promethease review here.

The files are categorized as Sequencing lab analysis and Full Genomes Analysis. The Sequencing lab analysis files contain the raw data that is generated by the Y chromosome sequence. There are four types of genetic variants included. There are instructions for understanding each variety included in the results. Even with an explanation, the process is quite complicated.

Full Genomes also includes a Genomes Analysis file. The Full Genomes analysis folder contains two files that you can easily open in Excel. The folders are called variantCompare and haploCompare.

The report identifies some high-reliability ‘private variants.’ With this report, you can compare the results to other registered Full Genomes accounts and identify recent mutations that may be shared.

Take note that these reports contain thousands of rows, and it can be challenging to obtain any meaningful information from them.

Full Genomes report

An S4744+ paternal haplogroup designation in the haplogroupCompare report

Full Genomes’ reports list the genetic variants that are understood to either be positive, negative, or interesting. They explain what each of these implicates in terms of physical appearance and health. The company also includes the likelihood of factors such as going bald or risk for heart disease.

This report is immensely helpful, especially if the customer has health concerns. If you want more thorough advice, you could resend this as a detailed DNA report to a medical professional of your choosing for further analysis.

A sample paternal haplogroup in the ISOGG tree from http://www.isogg.org

Cost of Full Genomes

The Full Genomes service is much more expensive than other commercial DNA testing products. The company has an extensive library of Y-chromosome SNPs, which allows you to explore your patrilineal background. This service is only available for men because women do not have a Y-chromosome.

Depending on the level of the test you would like to receive, Full Genomes is a significant investment. You can, however, get a single SNP test for only $15.

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and Analysis

  • Whole Genome Analysis – $75
  • Whole Genome Sequence (coverages)
    • 15x – $645
    • 20x – $825
    • 30x – $1150
  • Long Read Whole Chromosome – $2900

Y chromosome sequencing and analysis

  • Analysis of Y BAM files – $50
  • Y Elite Ancestry Test for Men – $425

Additional services

  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) Test – $15
  • Whole Genome GRCh38 Alignment – $75
  • Forensic SNP Imputation – $100
  • Exome Sequencing – $525

Is Whole Genome Sequencing Worth It?

Not yet.

Whole genome sequencing means that the test examines almost every gene within the genome, which is roughly 25,000 genes and 4 to 5 million SNPs (which are the variations within each gene that have a meaningful impact on your health).

Whole genome sequencing is far more expensive than other popular DNA test kits on the market that test up to a million SNPs. A test from SelfDecode, for example, will cost you $99 – this is far more affordable than the $645+ cost of WGS with Full Genomes.

Currently, only so many SNPs have been studied by scientists, so only a small portion of the results from a whole genome sequencing test can provide you with any meaningful information. At the moment, the difference in information between a standard SNP chip test (like one from 23andMe or SelfDecode) and a whole genome sequencing test is negligible.

As more research in genomics is done and databases expand, whole genome sequencing will inevitably become more useful. However, there is no way to know how long it will be before that happens and by the time it does, it is entirely possible that even more advanced and accessible testing than 30x WGS will be available.

At this time, you are getting very little for the significant extra cost required to have whole genome sequencing done. Other DNA tests on the market are more focused on the SNPs that have actionable insights attached to them, so they provide essentially the same result when it comes to health information.

Health Recommendations from Full Genomes

Full Genomes is strictly a DNA sequencing service and does not include any recommendations in their reports, despite offering limited health information. You will need to take your DNA data to your own specialist who can then interpret your genes to give you any health recommendations.

Review of Full Genomes Privacy & Data Security

According to Full Genomes Terms of Service, the customer has the right to request that their account be closed and their information removed from all databases.

Unless the customer requests otherwise, or the law prevents it, DNA samples are destroyed after the laboratory finishes the analysis. Any customer has the right to “opt-in” or “opt-out” of uses of personal information. This process is complicated, and to do so, you must message the privacy administrator.

SelfDecode vs Full Genomes

  1. SelfDecode delivers natural supplement, diet, and lifestyle suggestions based on your genes that you can implement right away. Full Genomes is strictly a genome sequencing service and limited health information is given.
  2. SelfDecode tells you why they make each recommendation so that you can understand the science behind the suggestion. Full Genomes reports give you details about your genome and ancestry.
  3. SelfDecode prioritizes recommendations based on their analysis of all the relevant genes instead of one gene at a time (through reports). Full Genomes, like some other ancestry sites, only offers limited health information.
  4. SelfDecode takes a holistic approach to give recommendations that are best for your genes AND the health topic. Full Genomes is primarily a DNA sequencing service and focuses on ancestry analysis.
  5. SelfDecode has the world’s first and only personalized genetics blog that allows you to get new gene-based recommendations daily. Full Genomes does not offer a personalized blog at this time.
  6. SelfDecode is the most comprehensive and looks at more genes & SNPs (over 150,000) to deliver the best analysis of genetic risks. Full Genomes does offer exhaustive and detailed information about your genetics. The customer may take this data to their own specialist to gain any health-related benefits from the information.
  7. SelfDecode supports everything with peer-reviewed scientific studies in their research and checks for contradicting information. Full Genomes does have a team of scientists dedicated to providing a quality WGS service.
  8. SelfDecode never sells your data or gives it away. Full Genomes does give its customers full control over their data.

Comparisons

 

SelfDecode

Full Genomes

Nebula Genomics

Dante Labs

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

No

No

No

Personalized blog posts

Yes

No

No

No

Products

DNA testing, wellness reports, research-based personalized blog posts, health recommendations

WGS & Y chromosome sequencing & analysis, ancestry tracing, limited health information

WGS, health reporting, traits, ancestry

WGS/WES, health and fitness reporting, genetic health risks

Raw data access

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cost (USD)

$97 – $389

$15 – $2,900

$0 (limited) – $700

$700-$1,000+

Full Genomes Reviews

The editor at bestdnatestingkits gave Full Genomes 4/5 stars, calling it “worth a substantial investment”. They highlight the detailed report information and extensive database as justification for the higher cost compared to other services.

Customer reviews on dnatestingchoice gave it an average 4.5/5 star rating, from 32 reviews. Many reviewers praised the customer service and were impressed by the information given versus the lack of fancy graphical reports.

Alternatives to Full Genomes

SelfDecode: The best option for health-focused DNA analysis with personalized reports and recommendations to improve your quality of life.

Full Genomes Review Summary

Full Genomes is for anyone interested in a thorough explanation of their DNA. With a variety of levels and prices of products available, there is something for everyone.

This test is definitely not for the faint-hearted. There’s a very steep learning curve and once you start, there’s a mountain of research you can read through, dozens of projects to join, and dozens of additional analyses you can undertake. You’re not going to get any user-friendly reports, but if you’re detail-orientated, researching your paternal ancestry can be very compelling.

Full Genomes offers limited health information, but no recommendations. An alternative such as SelfDecode provides you a more affordable option with science-backed and easy to understand reports in addition to a personalized health blog to help you take control of your health.

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