Xcode Life Review

Last Updated: August 14, 2018

Review Summary

Xcode Life is a biotechnology company based in India that is something of a rising star in the personal genetic testing marketplace. The company does not collect saliva samples from customers themselves or perform DNA extractions; instead customers upload raw genetic data that they have received from other compatible genetic testing providers (such as 23andMe, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA or My Heritage), to be re-analyzed by Xcode Life using their ‘state of the art algorithms’ based on a wide body of scientific literature. Customers can choose what type of report(s) they would like to purchase from a wide variety of surprisingly inexpensive options, including reports relating to many different aspects of health, ancestry, and lifestyle.

Pros

  • Xcode Life reports are compatible with raw data derived from almost all of the big genetic testing companies.
  • There are many reports to choose from and they are generally much cheaper than similar reports advertised on other platforms.
  • Reports are returned to you incredibly quickly, usually within 24 hours!
  • The Xcode Life website features free tools to convert or merge raw DNA data files.
  • There are clear explanations of the significance of every gene analyzed in each report on the website.
  • The ancestry test is particularly good for investigating the genetic ancestry of South Asian people.

Cons

  • Some of the reports are much more informative than others - reports focussing on fitness, nutrition, and skin care often have very few implications for your lifestyle or health.
  • Ancestry testing reports may be less accurate and less specific than reports generated by other providers for customers who are not South Asian.

Bottom Line

Ordering reports from Xcode Life is a great way for those who have already purchased a genetic ancestry test with another provider to squeeze the most information that they can from their raw data, for very reasonable prices. It is also one of the best places to start your ancestry journey if you anticipate you may have some South Asian ancestry.

Pricing

The prices of individual reports range from $10 to $40 - very inexpensive in comparison to prices quoted by similar providers. If you have not already completed a genetic test with another provider, Xcode Life recommends a number of testing kits available to buy via Amazon from providers such as 23andMe and Ancestry DNA, and will throw in a free Xcode Health report with your purchase. Xcode Life recommends that if you are planning on purchasing it’s reports, it makes sense to select the cheapest testing package from whichever third party provider you choose, as the raw sequencing data you will receive from the test provider should be the same regardless.

Discounts

There are currently two deals advertised on the Xcode Life website. The first of these is the ‘Super Pack’, which contains the company’s Nutrition, Fitness, Health, Allergy, Skin, Precision Medicine, and MTHFR reports for $99 (down from $140 if purchased individually). The second offer is the ‘Best Seller Pack’, which contains the Nutrition, Fitness, Health, Allergy and Skin reports for $49 (down from $80 if purchased individually). If you have already bought a single report, you are able to upgrade to a ‘Best Seller Pack’ or ‘Super Pack” by paying the difference in price.

Reports

Health

There are a number of health-related reports to choose from on the Xcode website, including Gene Health, BRCA and Breast Cancer, Carrier Status, Gene Allergy, Simplified Promethease Report, and Precision Medicine. The Gene Health report currently covers genetic predisposition for 50 different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Age Related Macular Degeneration, Hypertension, and Parkinson’s disease. The Simplified Promethease report may be particularly interesting for those who have tried uploading their raw gene sequencing data to Promethease, but have struggled to interpret their results. Xcode Life does not provide direct medical advice, and the interpretation of any worrisome results you receive should be left to qualified health care professionals.

Ancestry

The ancestry report offered by Xcode Life is certainly a great choice for customers who want to explore their South Asian ethnicity, but is less well suited to customers who anticipate that this will not apply to them. A particular highlight of the report is a detailed breakdown of more than 40 ethnic groups from South, Central, and East Asian populations, and it is even possible for customers who are willing to participate in research regarding these underrepresented group of peoples to get their ancestry test for free as a token of appreciation for contributing to scientific research (for more on this see The South Asian Genome Project on the Xcode Life website).For those who are not of South Asian extraction, the geographic detail offered by Xcode Life is lower than that offered by big ancestry testing companies such as Ancestry DNA or 23andMe, and your genetic data will be cross-referenced with publicly accessible databases that have been compiled for scientific studies, rather than with a reference database generated by the company itself. This means that there is no ‘genetic community’ type of feature, and it can not currently be used to connect you with relatives.

Lifestyle

There are currently three lifestyle-oriented reports on the Xcode Life website; Gene Nutrition, Gene Fitness, and Gene Skin. Each of these reports covers multiple individual traits, all of which are explained on the company website. Although it is generally wise to be skeptical of companies who claim to offer insights into your genetically ideal diet or fitness routine, in the case of Xcode Life, the prices of these tests are pretty reasonable for the amount of actionable information that the reports can provide, and the reports are quite comprehensive in comparison to those of other companies.

Other Considerations

Privacy

You can delete your raw data file yourself from your Xcode Life account - this permanently erases your data from the company servers and does not require permission from the company. Informed consent will always be sought before any genetic information provided to Xcode Life is used as part of a scientific study, For more information, see the Privacy Policy outlined on the Xcode Life website.

Xcode vs the Competition

Uploading your raw genetic data to the Xcode Life platform is one of the quickest, simplest, and least expensive ways to gain a little extra insight into your genetic health, ancestry, or characteristics. For the moment, as far as we can tell, the way to make the most of this platform for all those who are not of ethnically South Asian is to take an ancestry test with a larger, more established provider such as Ancestry DNA, My Heritage or Family Tree DNA, and then to use the Xcode Life service to re-analyze your data to learn more about health, fitness, and other interesting traits and characteristics. In terms of how the Xcode Life health and carrier reports compare to those of 23andMe, Xcode Life certainly analyses more variants and tests for a greater number of different diseases, and some customers have reported that the found the Xcode Life report easier to interpret. Specific Xcode Life reports, for example the BRCA and Breast Cancer report, contain much more detailed analysis and are far more comprehensive both in calculating risk, and in providing additional relevant information, than the equivalent report by 23andMe. That said, it is possible that smaller, newer companies like Xcode Life can get away with offering new health DNA reports that have undergone less rigorous testing for scientific accuracy, although we have seen no evidence of this in this case.For customers who do have South Asian Ancestry, Xcode Life is certainly a welcome addition to the DNA testing marketplace, and is really the best place to start their ancestry journeys. The level of geographical accuracy provided by Xcode Life is unparalleled by any other report supplier that we have seen for these customers, and The South Asian Genome Project gives people an opportunity to receive this report completely free!

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