To Get Bigger, 23andMe Is Watching A Hundred Thousand People Diet

23andMe validated countless ancestral claims (and genetic ties to St. Patrick’s Day) with its DNA tests, and now the company is focusing on something quite different: the scale. In December, the biotech pioneer announced a weight loss intervention study to better understand the relationship between genetics and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

23andme“We suspect that there may be underlying genetic architecture that may make it easier for some individuals to lose weight,” says Liana Del Gobbo, 23andMe’s lead scientist on the study.

The goal would be to help people better understand what methods work for their bodies. Basically, an end to the constant search for the perfect diet.

Even though the scientific community identified over 150 genetic variants associated with weight–and despite a string of expensive and unscientificDNA-based diets–there isn’t much evidence so far of a connection between genes and weight loss. With this crowdsourced study–what may be the most comprehensive effort yet to understand these links–23andme is hoping to change that.

The Mountain View, California-based company recruited 100,000 individuals between the ages of 18 and 70 from its existing 3 million-customer database. For three months, participants follow one of three plans: low-carbohydrate diet (“this one is enormously popular,” notes Del Gobbo), high-fiber diet, and exercise-focused physical activity.

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