If you’re interested in DNA testing to learn more about your health or ancestry (or both), you’ve likely come across major players like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and others. While these companies provide affordable direct-to-consumer DNA tests, some people find their data privacy practices to be inadequate. Others want a DNA test to produce more comprehensive genetic data and want to own their data as well.
That’s where Nebula Genomics aims to help. While the aforementioned competitors read your DNA at 600,000 positions, Nebula Genomics sequences your entire genome, reading it at 6,000,000,000 positions and reading each letter of your DNA about 30 times.
What can you do with the data? Is Nebula Genomics a good value? Does the company properly protect your data privacy? We thoroughly tested their products and services. Here we’ll share the details so you can decide if they offer the right DNA testing experience for you.
- Offer whole-genome sequencing, unlike many of their competitors
- You get full access to your genetic data and curated tools required to explore it
- Next-generation sequencing technology ensures high accuracy
- Subscription unlocks ongoing insights and lots of value compared to a one-off report
- Whole-genome sequencing reveals all genetic variation rather than focusing on single genes and particular diseases
- A significant dedication to privacy
- Increased thoroughness comes with a bigger price tag than other DNA tests
- If you choose not to subscribe, you benefit less from the test
With Nebula Genomics, you’ll get the maximum amount of data from your DNA testing experience. If you can invest a bit more than mainstream DNA tests require, the whole-genome sequencing service and Nebula Explore reporting provide in-depth information on a range of traits and the tools to explore your genome yourself. The price is a steal for the amount of information you get. Firmly believing that your genetic information is yours to own and control, Nebula Genomics puts privacy front and center in their services. They are pioneers in developing technologies to keep your genetic data secure. The company also provides you with your raw data in case you wish to use it elsewhere.
By testing with Nebula Genomics, you get the maximum amount of genetic data, along with excellent means to explore it and protect it.
The 30x Whole Genome Sequencing test sequences your entire genome for the lowest price available. For health testing or ancestry testing (partnering with Family Tree DNA), Nebula Genomics is a powerful choice. Their commitment to privacy is very impressive.
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Like all medical-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for medical accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from sign-up to use of the product or service, and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.
Founded in 2018, San Francisco-based Nebula Genomics aims to lead the new era of personalized genomics by offering accessible whole-genome sequencing. This is in contrast to many of the leading direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies, such as 23andme and AncestryDNA, who only test a small portion of the genome (around 0.02%).
In addition to being a driving force in the personalized genomics movement, Nebula Genomics also researches gene-editing technologies. In fact, the laboratory of genetics pioneer and Nebula Genomics founder, George Church, is credited with making major advances in the application and optimization of CRISPR-Cas9 as a human gene-editing tool.
Nebula Genomics gives users the power to explore their genomes and to take their data elsewhere, too. At the same time, the company also aims to use these large datasets to make scientific discoveries. Specifically, they are using innovative technologies to assess how genetic variation links to human health, with the aim of developing new drugs and advanced therapies to help treat complex diseases.
To generate their data, Nebula Genomics carries out 150 bp paired-end read sequencing using high-throughput MGI DNBSEQ-T7 DNA sequencing machines. If your eyes glazed over while reading the previous sentence, suffice it to say that these platforms deliver exceptionally high-quality and in-depth data and are among the market leaders in whole-genome sequencing.
Nebula Genomics understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to generating genetic reports; each individual will have different interests and goals. The company’s genome exploration tools give you a flexible platform to explore various aspects of your genetic data. You can search for a particular variant, explore different genes, and look directly at your sequencing data. Because Nebula Genomics sequences your entire genome, the findings you get aren’t limited to any particular gene or disease.
Nebula Genomics also offers deep ancestry analysis. They sequence the entire Y chromosome (males only) and mitochondrial DNA (both males and females) and discover all genetic variants found within the data. This allows them to predict paternal and maternal lineages accurately. In partnership with FamilyTreeDNA, Nebula Genomics gives you access to the world’s largest Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA databases and enables you to connect with relatives.
Additionally, if you have already had your DNA sequenced by 23andme or AncestryDNA, you can upload your genetic data to Nebula Genomics. This service is called Nebula Expand. Although competitors provide much less data, Nebula Genomics can expand the information using statistical modeling to predict your genetic make-up at other sites in the genome.
The Nebula Genomics 30x Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test currently costs $299. This makes it the most affordable whole-genome sequencing service currently on the market. To put it into context, sequencing the first human genome (completed in 2003) cost around $2.7 billion over a decade. The 30x Whole Genome Sequencing test is a fantastic value for those who want to invest a bit more in order to gain more data and insights. It may not be suitable for cost-conscious consumers or those just starting their DNA journey.
The company also charges a subscription fee for their reporting through Nebula Explore. This is because Nebula Genomics provides dynamic and regular reporting on your results as they collect more data and gain more information from scientific discoveries. The subscription cost is $19.99 per month, which reduces to $9.99 per month if you pay for an entire year. For unlimited lifetime access, you pay $300.
In our opinion, Nebula Explore is an excellent investment for those who want to maximize what they learn from their DNA data; the science team at Nebula Genomics curates new materials weekly and provides customized reports to help you understand how the latest research and breakthroughs apply to you.
30x Whole Genome Sequencing
Nebula Genomics offers a single, comprehensive DNA testing package. Their 30x Whole Genome Sequencing test sequences your whole genome at 30x coverage, meaning each region of DNA is sequenced, on average, around thirty times. This ensures that the data is robust and reliable.
Nebula Explore reporting
Instead of generating a single report from your genetic data, Nebula Genomics provides a continuous service. This service includes multiple new reports every week, use of their genome exploration tools, access to deep ancestry analysis, and support from the geneticists on their team.
You’ll also get access to the Nebula library, a collection of personalized reports based on the latest scientific research and updated weekly. In addition to reading about the research, you can gain insights from your DNA based on the most up-to-date findings. To access this service, you’ll first need to use the Whole Genome Sequencing service or upload genetic data from another service.
If you already have genetic data
You can easily upload your data to Nebula Genomics for free and begin using some of their services. Nebula Genomics calls its data upload service Nebula Expand because they use statistical modeling to take the less thorough DNA test results and essentially predict and fill in genetic variants where positions lack data.
If you need a DNA test
In this case, order your 30x Whole Genome Sequencing test. Then Nebula Genomics will send you the DNA testing kit. To collect your sample, you simply swab the inside of your cheek with the materials provided. You then register your kit and send it back to them. The laboratory will process your sample within eight weeks.
To view your results, you should also sign up for Nebula Explore, which gives you access to all your sequencing data, updates, and analysis tools.
Nebula Genomics’ commitment to protect your privacy is impressive. The company keeps privacy at the heart of everything that they do.
They consider themselves to be the first privacy-focused personal genomics service. In support of this, they have authored publications in high-impact journals on the subject. They acknowledge that your genetic data is essentially the most personal information you could have. Subsequently, they’re committed to ensuring your data is secure.
In line with their ethos, they are the first company to offer anonymous genetic testing, meaning you can take the test and receive your results without ever having to provide identifying information. This means the genetic information is much less likely to be traced back to you in the event of a security breach.
Similarly, Nebula Genomics is collaborating with researchers to build technologies to prevent unauthorized access to genetic data and to enable users to contribute to research without privacy concerns. The company is preparing to achieve this privacy goal by unveiling a new platform (currently in its Beta stage) in partnership with Oasis Labs.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For Nebula Genomics and other health-related services and products, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? Does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies for testing services and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help make the service ideal for you?