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23andMe, the startup that helps consumers decode their genetic information, has announced two big hires: former LinkedIn Vice President of Revenue and Customer Operations, Sarah Imbach, is the Mountain View, Calif. startup’s new chief operating officer; former Yahoo User Experience Vice President, Larry Tesler, has been named a “Product Fellow.”

23andMe says Imbach was at LinkedIn for four and a half years and before that worked as an independent consultant and at PayPal. Tesler’s background include stints at Amazon and Apple. It’s interesting to see the startup making hires from internet companies, rather than the life science side, though in Tesler’s case his resume also includes Stanford University’s Department of Genetics.

David Hamilton wrote about 23andMe for VentureBeat back in February and was impressed by the interface and the depth, especially compared to competitor deCODE Genetics. 23andMe has been getting plenty of attention for its “retail DNA test”, including being named Time Magazine’s invention of the year. Basically, customers send their saliva to a lab and the company determines your predisposition to diseases like cancer and obesity. The question is whether people will see the company’s test as a tool for good health or as a novelty — even the recently reduced price of $399 is a lot to pay for a novelty.


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