0

LunaDNA Review: Get paid to share your DNA, but what about privacy?

Written by Michael Principato, BPHE (Bachelor of Physical and Health Education) | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: Users become stakeholders of LunaDNA by sharing their personal health information with the company.
  2. Cost: LunaDNA does not charge users a fee to join. The company makes money using your genetic and health data, then pays you a dividend. Users should factor in pricing of the initial DNA test.
  3. Reports: LunaDNA does not provide any reports.
  4. Raw data access: No, users upload their own raw data to the company.
  5. Privacy: All DNA data that users share is anonymized. Users who leave can choose to delete the data at any time.
  6. Alternatives: SelfDecode provides health recommendations supported by peer-reviewed science linked to your DNA variants. SelfDecode promises to never sell or give away your data to any third parties.

Pros

  • Users are compensated for sharing their personal data
  • No fees
  • Ability to remove data if one is no longer interested in the service
  • Making a contribution to science; personal health data will be used to advance genetic research

Cons

  • No DNA testing products offered
  • No health recommendations provided
  • No symptoms analysis or personalized blog
  • Although privacy is a top priority, users must release their personal health information

About LunaDNA

LunaDNA was created by three co-founders; Dawn Barry, Bob Kain, and David Lewis. The company is based out of California and was founded in 2017. Barry and Kain both worked previously at a large DNA sequencing firm for over ten years. Lewis is a former employee of an investment firm.

Founded by LunaPBC, the managing company, LunaDNA has received $8.6 million in funding since its inception. Their primary goal as a company is to improve the health and quality of life for everyone on a people-centered platform, grounded by honesty and integrity.

Review of LunaDNA Products & Features

LunaDNA operates as a platform for people to submit their genetic data for research purposes. Users are compensated in the form of shares and dividends from the company.

LunaDNA accepts DNA files from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage and FamilyTree DNA, as well as LunaDNA-generated health surveys. They do not offer a testing kit. When the data is submitted, it is encrypted and anonymized. Later, it will be used for scientific research.

LunaDNA also welcomes other health data such as nutrition and fitness information to supplement the genetic data submitted to them. The company intends to use metrics from wearable technologies in the future to collect even more data.

Review of LunaDNA Reports

As discussed, LunaDNA does not provide the user with reports regarding their raw genetic data. The data is used for research purposes by partners of the company.

Insight into how LunaDNA values genetic data can be found by viewing an updated filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Figure 1 shows the shares issued to users, along with the fair market value of genetic and health data that can be shared with LunaDNA. On line 4, one can see that a Whole Genome DNA piece of information is worth $21. Unfortunately, to get whole genome sequencing in the DNA testing market, it can cost over $600.

LunaDNA pricesFigure 1: Shares issued and estimated fair market value of member data

Additionally, health information such as personal fitness and nutrition information can augment the dataset that users can send to LunaDNA. Figure 2 from the same SEC filing shows the valuation of this supplementary data. Again, the current value of the data is not very compelling.

Figure 2: Additional data points to supplement genome data

Cost

LunaDNA does not cost anything to join. When you do, you can start earning money by sharing health information with the company. When users provide their genetic data, they are issued shares (see figure 1 for a more detailed breakdown).

Users are also entitled to dividends from the shares they earn, paid in US dollars. According to LunaDNA, the dividend amounts are contingent on the contracts completed with research institutions. Upon completion of scientific studies, the dividends will be paid out to the LunaDNA community.

Health Recommendations from LunaDNA

LunaDNA provides users with no health recommendations of any kind. It is not the service to use if you want to learn more about your health and how it is linked to your DNA. You can only upload your genetic data to the Luna database to contribute to research and receive compensation in return.

Review of Privacy & Data Security

As a company that relies on the collection of users’ personal health information, privacy can only go so far. Users are compensated for sharing their data so that researchers can perform their work.

LunaDNA makes all data shared to the platform anonymous and encrypted. They acknowledge that there are inherent risks to sharing personal health data in their privacy policy. Namely, there is always a long-term risk of hacking and leaking of information from the platform.

Members can also be put in an uncomfortable situation with their DNA being constantly scrutinized by scientists researching various pathologies. A breakthrough about a specific disease could lead to an unsuspecting user being informed of a serious risk to their health. Users do have the option to opt-out of being informed of these results.

Overall, privacy is an issue at the heart of deciding whether to join or not. When personal health information is given to any company, there is always risk involved. When the information continues to be given away, this risk increases. Ultimately, potential users must evaluate this tradeoff for themselves.

Comparisons

SelfDecode

LunaDNA

Sano Genetics

Dante Labs

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

NoNo

No

Personalized blog posts

YesNoYes

No

Products

DNA testing, wellness reports, research-based personalized blog posts, health recommendationsUse of personal health data for researchGenotyping, WES, WGS, health, wellness, and traits reports, contribute health data for research

WGS, health and fitness reporting, genetic health risks

Raw data accessYesNoYes

Yes

Cost (USD)

$97 – $389

No fee (except for costs to get raw genetic data from another company)

$0 – $1,200

$670

LunaDNA Reviews

LunaDNA does not specifically offer a product, so there are few reviews. However, the discussion on social media is robust.

Read what people are saying about LunaDNA on Facebook

On Facebook, four people have judged LunaDNA with a rating of 5 of 5 stars. Reviews are short and do not provide much insight into the service other than the ability to contribute to research and be compensated with shares in the company.

This LunaDNA Reddit thread features users discussing the potential valuation of their genetic data with LunaDNA, and how it compares in this new market.

Read what people are saying about LunaDNA on Twitter

The conversation on Twitter regarding LunaDNA is active. The official company Twitter account interacts with other users consistently.

Alternatives to LunaDNA

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

LunaDNA Review Summary

LunaDNA is a unique and interesting company—the users supply 100% of the product. Through the sharing of genetic data, a symbiotic relationship can be achieved between the user, LunaDNA, and the third party. As discussed in this review, users should thoroughly understand the business model and how their data can be used.

For individuals looking for actionable health insights about their DNA, LunaDNA is not the right service. A service that uses peer-reviewed science to provide individualized health recommendations such as SelfDecode would be a better option.

Related

About the Author

Michael Principato

Michael Principato

BPHE (Bachelor of Physical and Health Education)
Michael received his BPHE from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University

RATE THIS ARTICLE

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.