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Impute.me Review: Advanced Analysis Of Your DNA?

Written by Samantha Odake, BS (Mechanical Engineering) | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: genetic imputation, DNA analysis tools.
  2. Cost: Free, but users who donate to the website get priority access to the results.
  3. Reports: Genetic risk score calculators, health reports.
  4. Raw data access: Impute.me does not offer DNA testing and requires users to have access to their raw DNA data.
  5. Privacy: Claims not to transfer, sell, or give away user data to any third parties.
  6. Alternatives: SelfDecode – get personalized health recommendations based on your genes.

Pros

  • Impute.me is free to use
  • Offers polygenic risk score calculators

Cons

  • Processing of genome files may take days
  • Does not provide any health recommendations based on DNA
  • Does not offer a DNA test
  • The website is not very intuitive and the results may require some previous knowledge in genetics for a better understanding

About Impute.me

Impute.me is a non-profit genetics analysis website run by Danish geneticists. The website started in 2015 and is led by Lasse Folkersen, Ph.D. They offer imputation of data from major DNA providers and other DNA analyses tools. The website code and how the genetic analysis is done are open-source and available for anyone to see.

Interested in getting more out of your DNA file? Did you know that SelfDecode is the only direct-to-consumer DNA company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA file? SelfDecode also goes a step further by giving you personalized and prioritized health recommendations based on your genes to help you optimize your health.

Review of Impute.me Products & Features

Impute.me does not offer DNA testing of their own. Instead, they require users to have access to their raw genetic data before using the site. All tools available are free to use.

When you first access the website, it’s not very clear what actions you need to take to get started. By accessing the Modules tab on the navigation bar, you can view the tools offered, and only then Impute.me directs you to the section of the website where you can upload your raw DNA data.

Users don’t need to create an account to upload their data. Only an email address is required for the processed data to be sent back to them. After the data is processed, Impute.me sends an email with further instructions on how to access the data.

The email also contains a link for donations to the website via PayPal. Those who choose to donate to the website will be moved to the top of the processing queue and receive priority access to their results. Keep in mind that it may take several days for Impute.me to finish processing your DNA data.

After your results are ready, you can explore the tools offered by the website. The modules are:

  • Complex Diseases
  • Precision Medicine
  • UK-biobank calculator
  • Appearance
  • Ancestry
  • Drug response
  • Rare Diseases
  • Mutation senser
  • BRCA
  • Politics
  • Kandiskyfy yourself
  • Athletic performance

Review of Impute.me Reports

It may take several days for the uploaded genome file to be processed, depending on the server waiting queue. After the file is uploaded, you will receive an email explaining how many other users are waiting in the queue, and the expected amount of time you will need to wait for your results.

Impute.me will email you with further instructions when the processing is complete. Users can then download their imputed data and browse the website by using the uniqueID number provided.

Impute.me has various test reports, but in this article, we will be discussing the Complex Diseases and Athletic Performance modules.

Complex Diseases: The GWAS Calculator

To get started with the Complex Diseases: The GWAS Calculator, you will need to input your Unique ID number, provided to you after your genome has been processed. Impute.me offers an analysis of various traits, which are presented in alphabetical order for you to choose from.

A list of Impute.me traits analyzed

The health risks are shown in charts. The image below represents a user’s genetic risk score for coronary artery disease relative to Impute.me’s user distribution. Each score is calculated based on a scientific study, which is also provided by the website.

Impute.me genetic risk score chart for coronary artery disease

Impute.me also provides a table containing the most significant SNPs as a calculation example, but they claim that the score is based on more genetic variants than what is presented. The table is not very user-friendly and was probably intended for people who have some previous knowledge in genetics.

A list of SNPs analyzed by Imputeme

From the table, you can find a column that indicates your genotype and another that shows the risk and non-risk allele. This allows Impute.me users to understand which particular allele might cause the likelihood of a disease.

Although the table format is a good way to present complicated information, the data may not be easily comprehended by a regular person who lacks strong knowledge of genetics. The report also doesn’t provide any health recommendations to help you address your genetic predispositions.

The number of SNPs analyzed for each trait can vary from half a dozen to a few thousand, depending on which study the report was based on.

Athletic Performance

Another DNA analysis offered by Impute.me is the Athletic Performance tool. Here, you will find a list of fitness-related SNPs, your genotype, and a brief description of the variant.

Impute.me athletic performance report

The website also provides a table containing genetic risk scores for a number of injuries and dietary needs.

Similar to the Complex Diseases module, Impute.me does not provide any recommedations to help you optimize your health based on your genetic results. You will simply receive the number of SNPs you have related to a particular trait and your genetic risk score.

Cost of Impute.me

Impute.me is free to use, but the website urges people to make donations if they can. As an encouragement to donations, the Impute.me has a priority queue for processing genome files. Users who make donations of at least $5 can bypass this queue and move up the waiting list to have priority access to their results.

Health Recommendations from Impute.me

Impute.me doesn’t provide feedback to users based on their test reports. Instead, you will be limited to finding out what your risk is compared to other people, and what genetic variants you carry based on your imputed genetic data.

Despite analyzing many actionable SNPs, the website doesn’t offer any health recommendations to help users optimize their health, so you’ll need to figure out what you can do to address your genetic predispositions alone or by consulting with a healthcare practitioner.

Review of Impute.me Privacy & Data Security

Impute.me’s Terms of Use are not very extensive. Their page is fairly simple and has no navigation options.

They claim that any traceable genetic information, such as the uploaded genomic file and imputed data, is deleted two weeks after imputation. Regarding the calculations and risk scores, Impute.me deletes them from their server two years after imputation.

Impute.me reserves the right to contact the participants via email. This may be to ask users for further medical research in the future.

Impute.me also claims to never transfer, sell or provide a user’s information and records to any third party.

SelfDecode vs Impute.me

  1. SelfDecode delivers natural supplement, diet, and lifestyle suggestions based on your genes that you can implement right away. Impute.me does not offer any health suggestions based on your genetic data.
  2. SelfDecode tells you why they make each recommendation so that you can understand the science behind the suggestion. Impute.me only gives you your imputed data and genetic risk scores, but no recommendations.
  3. SelfDecode prioritizes recommendations based on their analysis of all the relevant genes instead of one gene at a time (through reports). Impute.me does not offer any health recommendations.
  4. SelfDecode takes a holistic approach to give recommendations that are best for your genes AND the health topic. Impute.me does not give recommendations to optimize your health.
  5. SelfDecode has the world’s first and only personalized genetics blog that allows you to get new gene-based recommendations daily. Impute.me does not offer a personalized blog.
  6. SelfDecode is the most comprehensive and looks at more genes. SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to analyze up to 83 million genetic variants to deliver the best analysis of genetic risks. Impute.me uses imputation to expand the data available from an existing DNA file, and they analyze between a handful of SNPs and a few thousand depending on the report.
  7. SelfDecode supports everything with peer-reviewed scientific studies in their research and checks for contradicting information. Impute.me references scientific articles used to generate the results.
  8. SelfDecode never sells your data or gives it away. Impute.me claims to not share user data with third parties.

Comparisons

SelfDecode

Impute.mePromethease

openSNP

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

NoNo

No

Personalized blog posts

Yes

NoNo

No

Products

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

DNA analysis website, imputationDNA analysis, health reports

Online open-source portal for genotypes and phenotypes

Raw data access

Yes

N/AN/A

N/A

Cost (USD)

$97 – $387

Free (users can make donations)$12

Free

Impute.me Reviews

There are not many Impute.me reviews available online. Some users have taken to Reddit to share their reports and discuss amongst one another the accuracy and usefulness of the site. Some people found the results underwhelming, while others found their results interesting at best. A few users pointed out the fact that it can take several days to receive your results back, which they found surprising.

Alternatives to Impute.me

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

Impute.me Review Summary

Impute.me offers free genomic imputation and DNA analysis tools. It may take several days for your analysis to be completed, but users who make a donation to the website are moved up the processing queue and receive priority access to their results.

The site is not user-friendly, and the results may not be easy for everyone to understand. Plus, despite offering polygenic risk score calculators, Impute.me does not provide health recommendations based on the results.

For those seeking DNA-based insights to help them improve their health, Impute.me might not be the best option. If you want a company that performs genetic imputation to help you get the most out of your DNA file and goes even further by giving personalized recommendations, SelfDecode is a better choice.

SelfDecode is the only direct-to-consumer DNA company that uses AI and machine learning to analyze up to 83 million variants to give the most accurate genetic risk scores and personalized recommendations based on your DNA.

Related

About the Author

Samantha Odake

Samantha Odake

BS (Mechanical Engineering)
Samantha is an engineer turned writer with a passion for helping people.

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