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LAST UPDATED: February 24th, 2020

Founded in 2015, Helix is a population genomics company aiming to connect consumers with valuable DNA insights to improve their health and wellbeing. One in every 33 people tested will learn they have an actionable genetic risk factor. 

The Helix store is a platform where people can access a variety of different genetic tests—even from different testing companies—in one place. Let's break down the basic options: 

GenePrism: Actionable Insights
PerkinElmer Genomics
$299.99

This test looks at 59 genes to examine your health risks of developing several hereditary cancers, heart and metabolic conditions. A registered physician reviews your test and places the order for you. The cost of this service is included in the listed price. 

Mayo Clinic GeneGuide™
Mayo Clinic
$199.99
$149.99

This test includes genetic carrier screening, disease risk, medication response, and health traits. Taking it requires filling out a health history, which is reviewed by a doctor at PWNHealth. Once reviewed, the physician orders the test. The $25 cost of PWN's services are already included in the price. 

Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score
NorthShore University HealthSystem
$239.99

Find your genetic risk score for developing prostate cancer. After you place the order, NorthShore provides a physician to review the order, your health history, and more, to ensure your eligibility for the test. If approved, the doctor will order the test. The fee for this service is included in the price. 

CarrierCheck
Sema4
$249.99

This genetic screening test looks for your carrier status of 67 autosomal recessive inherited conditions. Physician review and a session with a board-certified genetic counselor are included in the pricing. 

Helix Ancestry
Helix
Free

This autosomal ancestry DNA test breaks down your inherited ethnicity into more than 20 possible regional groups. The Ancestry report also provides info about certain traits that are related to your ethnic origin, including lactose intolerance, altitude adaptation, malaria adaptation, Arctic adaptation, and Inuit adaptation. 

This report is a free upgrade after your initial paid purchase. 

Women's Wellness
Helix
Free

This genetic test analyzes your genetic variants that may affect certain health and wellness traits, including your skin's reaction to sun, relative age at menopause, waist size, freckling, bone mineral density, and more. Nutritional traits look at your predisposition for absorbing vitamins and minerals, as well as whether you are predisposed to react to different diets. You will also learn about your body's natural sleep tendencies.

Men and women can get results from this test, though biologically, men will not have results for factors like menstruation and menopause. 

This report is a free upgrade after your initial paid purchase. 

Helix Wellness
Helix
Free

The Helix Wellness test provides information about your genetic predisposition to a variety of health and wellness factors, including sleep, vitamin and nutritional uptake, gluten tolerance, and alcohol flush traits. 

This report is a free upgrade after your initial paid purchase. 

MyTraits Sport for iOS
Intelliseq
$144.99

Get fitness insights to personalize your workouts based on your genes. Analysis will include your genetic predisposition to endurance, power, metabolism, and BMI. To use your results for this product, you need to access via the MyTraits Sport iOS mobile apps. 

GoalGetter
InsideTracker
$190.00

The GoalGetter service provides users with nutritional advice based on their genetic code. Sequencing data will provide answers about managing your weight and performance, as well as information about aging, food sensitivity to caffeine, lactose, and gluten; and improving your sleep. Results can be accessed via GoalGetters's online platform. 

Heart Start
WellnessFX
$239.00

The Heart Start test provides insights about heart health from genetic markers covering diet and nutrition, cholesterol traits, and a variety of other data related to heart health. 

Diet GENius
Re:Point
$144.99

Diet GENius provides an analysis of your genetic predispositions to nutrition and food habits. The platform is designed to be used with Fitbit products and is meant to help you achieve your weight loss goals. 

How do you take a Helix DNA Test?

To take a Helix DNA test, you need to order a product, follow the instructions in the kit, collect a saliva sample, and return it to Helix's labs via the prepaid shipping package that arrives with your DNA testing kit.

Helix labs are CLIA and CAP-accredited and use a proprietary Exome+ Assay. When your DNA sample is sequenced, 22,000+ genes are recorded.

Once you've taken an at-home DNA test from Helix, your account allows you to select different report upgrades to learn more. From there, Helix does share some information with its partners in order to give you the added test data. When your results are ready, you get an email notification.

Keep reading for pros and cons of getting a DNA test with Helix. 

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The Good

  • Clinical-Grade Platform
  • Proprietary Exome+ Sequencing
  • Research Projects and Clinical Studies
  • Health Consultation
  • Genetic Testing Upgrades
  • Raw Data Download

Clinical-Grade Platform

Rather than only offering its own line of tests, Helix serves as a hub for people who are interested in all types of DNA analysis. It works with third parties to offer specialized testing, like CarrierCheck and the Mayo Clinic. The company's website allows users one point of access to several different testing opportunities from well-known brands and DNA research companies.

Proprietary Exome+ Sequencing

When you purchase a Helix test, Next Generation Sequencing Technology (NGS) is used to analyze what Helix calls your Exome+.

What does this mean?

  • All of your genes that code for proteins (20,000) are read and recorded. This data set is called the Exome.
  • Added to that info (indicated by the +), Helix records hundreds of thousands of specially selected additional data points from your genetic code. 

Helix developed the Exome+ assay to provide a highly detailed view. It offers more data than Whole Exome Sequencing (WES), 100 times more data than microarray genotyping, and access to data from your autosomal chromosomes as well as your mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). 

Research Projects and Clinical Studies

Helix partners with different research and health institutions to advance its population genomics research.

Helix participants' 20,000 recorded genes are stored on file so that, with your consent, updates and additional resources or upgrades will be made available once more research has been done. The company's ongoing research partnerships include the following studies: 

Health Consultation

Through the platform, Helix users can access a 30-minute genetic consultation from partner Genome Medical for $75. You can get help with selecting the best test based on your health concerns, risks, and family history. You can also go over your results with a genetic counselor.

Genetic Testing Upgrades

If you are already a Helix customer, you can add more DNA testing services to your account for a lower cost via the company's app store platform. All in one place, you can get access to genetic data and reporting from well-regarded DNA testing companies, without needing to order multiple testing kits. Here are the report upgrade prices for already-sequenced consumers: 

Health Tests

  • GenePrism: Actionable Insights by PerkinElmer Genomics — $299.99 (same)
  • Mayo Clinic GeneGuide™ by Mayo Clinic — $199.99 (same)
  • Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score by NorthShore University HealthSystem — $199.99
  • CarrierCheck by Sema4 — $199.99
  • Alzheimer's ApoE by ADx Healthcare — $119.99

Ancestry Tests

  • Helix Ancestry — Free after purchase of initial sequencing

Wellness Tests

  • Women's Wellness by Helix — Free after purchase of initial sequencing
  • Helix Wellness — Free after purchase of initial sequencing
  • MyTraits Sport for iOS by Intelliseq — $19.99
  • GoalGetter by InsideTracker — $65
  • Diet GENius by Re:Point — $19.99
  • Heart Start by WellnessFX — $199

Raw Data Download

Once you have purchased your first Helix product and your genetic code has been sequenced, you can purchase and download your Exome+ raw data. 

While most autosomal DNA tests offer a free raw DNA data download, Exome sequencing provides much more in-depth data, so it's not free. Popular DNA testing companies that use microarray-based autosomal testing, like AncestryDNA, will provide the download to you for free.

At Helix, this product is called your Full Data Set and is downloadable as a gVCF file for $499

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The Bad

  • Not Available Everywhere
  • Geno 2.0 Discontinued
  • Initial Purchase Options
  • DNA Kit Return Policy
  • No Raw Data Upload

Not Available Everywhere

Not all of the testing services available on the Helix platform are available to residents of all states. Most of the issues are with health screening related tests. Each test has different qualifications and rules.

Geno 2.0 Discontinued

If you were looking to take the National Geographic Geno 2.0 test through the Helix platform, you are out of luck.

As of May 2019, the long-running Genographic Project has been discontinued. You can no longer purchase a kit, either directly from Nat Geo or from the Helix website. This test was one of the most popular entry level ancestry tests for people looking to learn about their heritage. 

Initial Purchase Options

To order your first Helix test and get your initial DNA sequencing done, you need to purchase one of the full price health or wellness tests on the Helix store. The cost includes that of the DNA testing kit and any physician guidance needed to order the test. The Helix-branded reports are not available to purchase. Once you have purchased your first product, only then can you add-on the free Helix branded analysis options. 

DNA Kit Return Policy

You must request a refund for Helix DNA kits within 30 days of your purchase. Activated test kits cannot be returned. 

You will be refunded the purchase price less shipping and handling and a $25 cancellation fee. 

No Raw Data Upload

Once your sample has been sequenced, you will have access to purchase and download your raw DNA data — your Full Data Set for $499. 

However, unlike many other DNA analysis platforms, you can't upload raw DNA data from a third-party source to have it analyzed without the need to provide a new sample. Joining and using Helix requires you to buy a new test kit, wait for it to arrive in the mail, provide a saliva tube sample (as opposed to an easy cheek swab), send it back, and wait 4–8 weeks for processing. 

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The Bottom Line

Helix is a great resource for people who are interested in multiple types of DNA testing and want to work with a clinical-grade lab that will use their data to further the field of available insights from DNA, as well as offer access to multiple, well-known industry leaders' tests.

Are you a Helix customer? Would you recommend it to others? Tell us about your experience with a quick review below.

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