July 2, 2020
Product Reviews

Sano Genetics Review | 5 Things To Know Before Using

Want to contribute to advanced genetics research? Check out Sano Genetics, a new digital platform that allows you to join research studies!
Tomohiro Takano

Sano Genetics is a relatively new DNA testing company that focuses specifically on using genetic data sets from genetics customers to power the next generation of cures for rare diseases - including muscular dystrophy, the genetics of autism, and even COVID-19!

Sano Genetics, based in Cambridge, recruits users who specifically want to contribute to genetics research on a wide variety of diseases and conditions. The patient-centric Sano Genetics platform allows you to store your medical history and DNA data. Then, you choose which researchers and products you are willing to share your information with!

Here at Genomelink, we think it is super important that people are able to investigate and compare the many different DNA testing companies before they buy. In this review, we cover everything you need to know about Sano Genetics including sample reports, DNA sequencing options, reviews, and great alternatives!

1. About the Company
2. Test Results and Sample Reports
3. Reviews of Sano Genetics
4. Cost
5. Best Alternatives to Sano Genetics

1. About The Company

Quick Facts:
Company Name: Sano Genetics
Foundation Year: 2017
Location: Cambridge, UK
Website: SanoGenetics.com

Sano Genetics is a company rooted in genetic health, aiming to make a full-service digital health platform. The company serves as an intermediary between consumer DNA test kit users and researchers who want access to DNA data. Sano Genetics makes money by providing researchers with tools to analyze aggregated genetic data, and by selling DNA test kits. Through the Sano Genetics platform, users are able to get valuable health-related genetic information while at the same time contributing to the advancement of personalized health!

Sano Genetics is taking data privacy seriously. Unlike other genetic testing companies, Sano Genetics lets you decide who can access your private medical and genetic data. Some researchers may even pay you for your data! Sano Genetics ran its first paid study in October 2019 with the University of Cambridge, and the company is aiming to do more paid studies in the future. 

The founders of Sano Genetics include Charlotte Guzzo, Patrick Short, and William Jones. These co-founders all have tons of experience in both genetics and computer science - making them the perfect team to build and deliver an experience that benefits medical research, drug discovery, and other research projects focused on genetic information. You can listen to the Sano Genetics podcast for more information on their latest research studies and the dynamic health data they are compiling. 

Sano Genetics considers themselves “ethical brokers to facilitate a direct connection between you and research institutions” - keeping you in charge of your personal information while still letting you contribute to advancements in important medical research!

2. Test Results and Sample Reports

When you purchase a DNA test kit from Sano Genetics, you are getting a much different product than when you buy a kit from a more prominent DNA testing company. Sano Genetics provides several excellent services to its users:

  • Get Paid! - by joining some studies, you will get paid by researchers
  • No Data Monopolization - Sano Genetics does not own your data, you do!
  • Access to the Latest Science - find how your genetic variants may affect your health
  • Your Data, Your Choice - the platform only holds your data, you decide who gets to see it!

There are several options for starting your journey with Sano Genetics - you can upload your DNA data for free, or you can choose from one of three different DNA test kits. After submitting your DNA data or completing genome sequencing with a test kit, Sano Genetics will provide you with a health report that covers several different topics.

You can see a sample of the different trait reports covered on this Sano Genetics page. Each report, such as this Nicotine Dependence report, covers the science behind the genetic correlation and tells users in simple language what we know and don’t know about how your genetics may affect this trait. 

The best thing about Sano Genetics is that the journey does not end after you get your initial health report. Sano Genetics is constantly joining forces with researchers around the globe looking to recruit volunteers for a wide variety of research programs. Sano provides a full-list of current research you can join now, and many more studies will become available as more people join the platform and more researchers use it as a study population. 

3. Reviews of Sano Genetics

Unfortunately, Sano Genetics is a fairly new company, and no user reviews have been posted online. That being said, Sano Genetics has been reviewed by several sites and receives high marks in most categories. The company seems to have a valid mission, protects your data privacy the way you want, and gives you access to the latest scientific findings!

One area where Sano Genetics can still improve is turnaround time. Whereas most DNA testing companies need around 6-8 weeks to process a sample, Sano says that they require 12 weeks or more before you can get your results. This will likely get better as the company grows. Likewise, while the company currently partners with researchers in the United Kingdom, it is expected that many more universities will join the movement.

The Sano Genetics platform is still in its early stages, though it is set to become a feature among major biotech companies with its innovative business model. Unlike most companies that consider your DNA data a major asset, this company is more geared towards providing researchers with tools to analyze its large data sets.

4. Cost

If you have already taken a DNA test from a major DNA testing company, you can upload your raw DNA data to Sano for FREE! With a free upload of your genotyping data, you get access to a basic health report that will tell you about some of the conditions and traits that have already been researched. Then, you can choose to contribute to other research projects on the platform, and can potentially get paid for your efforts!

If you have not had your DNA analyzed, Sano Genetics offers 3 different DNA tests you may want to consider:

  • Genotyping Kit - $154
  • Exome Plus Kit - $554
  • Whole Genome Kit - $1170

These different kits analyze your DNA at different levels. The Genotyping Kit is the industry-standard test that measures around 700,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). While these single genetic variants can help researchers determine which version of a gene you inherited, they often miss random mutations within genes. 

By stepping up to the Exome Plus kit, researchers are fully analyzing every gene you carry - about 2% of your entire genome. This amounts to more than 120,000,000 individual nucleotides! Exome sequencing measures the part of your DNA that actually creates proteins, and through proteins - traits! Over time, this will lead to much more available information about your genetic predispositions and health.

If you really want to go big, you can opt for the Whole Genome Kit. With whole-genome sequencing, researchers are able to determine every single one of your 6-billion nucleotides. While genetic science has yet to catch up to this massive amount of information, new research in the next decade is likely to shed light on all parts of the genetic code. Users who opt for a Whole Genome Kit will be able to join the most genetic research projects and will be given access to the most information about their genetic health and wellbeing. 

While the cost for these tests is slightly higher than 23andMe or AncestryDNA, users are given a massive advantage by retaining ownership of their DNA. The ultimate goal is to create precision medicine research using direct-to-consumer genetic tests. As Sano Genetics grows, you may even be able to recoup the cost by joining paid research studies! 

5. Best Alternatives to Sano Genetics

While Sano Genetics is a great choice for people who want to contribute to medical research through genetic testing, it is not the only place you can find out more about yourself with your genetic data. In fact, many companies allow you to contribute to science - though not many allow you to use data sharing to control what research projects and clinical trials you join. 

If you already have raw data and are looking for great places to learn more, check out these sites:

Genomelink - That’s us! Here at Genomelink, you can get access to 25 traits for free just by uploading your DNA data! All of our reports are backed by the latest genetic science and are explained by scientists trained in genetics. 

Promethease - for only $12, you can instantly get a report that covers every genetic variant you carry. Promethease is not a genetics company, per se. They simply act as a literature retrieval service - like Google for your genes. You can find out about a wide variety of health conditions - from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s. 

To find more DNA upload sites that cover a huge variety of traits, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO