The Lincoln Company is expanding into genetic testing

Abraham Oommen, the co-founder of the world’s largest animal testing service, is expanding into a human genetic testing business.

GenoTypica, 6400 Cornhusker Highway, employs 16 people.

Oommen, who founded GeneSeek and later MatMaCorp, said genetic testing will give customers a better understanding of their genes, while paying close attention to privacy issues plaguing the biometrics industry.

Genetic testing sites have come under fire in recent years for collecting data and selling it to other companies such as, for example, members of the pharmaceutical industry.

“Many people are interested in a service like this, but are (reluctant) because of fears that their information will be sold,” Oommen said. “That’s one thing we want to take out of the picture.”

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They do this by never asking their customers for their full names. Instead, only their age and gender are asked and an account number is issued.

“That’s your ID card,” Oommen said. “We don’t know who you are. We don’t ask you for any information about your health problems.”

GenoTypica also streamlined the process, Oommen said.

A company like 23andMe sends its customers kits that require them to put their saliva in a small tube, which could get messy, Oommen said.

“We just send a swab. They put the swab in their mouth and rub it on the cheek cells and send the swab back to us,” she said. “It’s that simple, anyone can do it.”

GenoTypica analyzes 1.7 million genetic markers or more than three times the number of other analysis services. Those markers could indicate whether someone is predisposed to certain health conditions, which would give them a chance to take precautionary measures.

This raw data is easily transferable to other genome analysis applications.

“The kind of information you’re going to get is very useful for a lot of people,” Oommen said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7391 or psangimino@journalstar.com

On Twitter @psangimino

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