“If you want to change this world, this community that we all live in, then get up and do it. And just start something.”
Anne Wojcicki is the cofounder and CEO of the personal genetics company 23andMe, a pioneering direct-to-consumer DNA testing firm.
Anne received a B.S. degree (1996) in biology from Yale University. She later worked as a researcher and as an investment analyst. In 2006, while pursuing her interest in the potential to influence health care through personal genetic testing, Wojcicki cofounded 23andMe with biologist Linda Avey. Wojcicki and Avey believed that individuals provided with personal knowledge of disease risk would be empowered and better prepared to take steps toward disease prevention.
In 2008 a retail saliva genetic test developed by researchers at 23andMe was named Time magazine’s Invention of the Year. The test provided customers with information about their genetic traits, including estimates of their predisposition toward various health conditions. By 2016, researchers at 23andMe had genotyped more than one million people worldwide. That same year Wojcicki announced the release of the company’s first genetics research-focused module developed with ResearchKit, an open-source software created by Apple Inc. for the iPhone. The new module enabled researchers to collect genetic information for their studies from 23andMe customers, who had the option of contributing their data to research studies. The development marked a major step forward in Wojcicki’s effort to make the company’s ever-growing database of genetic information available to scientists.