• How does Root differ from companies like 23andme?

    Tests like 23andme charge money, but use patchy methods that can’t clearly read your most strongly and broadly informative genes, HLA. Only Root reads and interprets HLA well. And we do it free, to honor your willingness to help others.
  • What is HLA?

    HLA genes make proteins that help manage our bodies’ inner worlds, by tracking clues from germs, foods, and other stuff from outside. Our DNA spellings sculpt many versions of these proteins, each of which senses some clues better than others — which may help resist particular germs, but also risk false alarms where our cells unwittingly attack each other, or foods or drugs that should help instead of hurt.
  • Why is HLA so informative?

    Because HLA genes help train our bodies to distinguish harmful invaders from harmless stuff, they matter greatly for transplant… and many other facets of our biology, from food and drug allergies, to pregnancy, immunity, inflammation, and even puzzles like how we fall in love. Root helps you understand what your own HLA mean for these open puzzles, and get involved with studies you trust to help solve them.
  • Why can’t other DNA tests read HLA well?

    A typical human gene comes in a few basic versions, so tests like 23andme read a few letters to guess others well (like in Wheel of Fortune ). But that fails for HLA , where our ancestors have preserved stunningly diverse DNA spellings for eons, perhaps by sniffing out mates with complementary versions to help have healthy kids. All that HLA diversity takes focused methods to read and interpret well... our specialty at Root.
  • Is Root free?

    Yes, we’re completely free if you’re eligible (by your country’s age, health, and other criteria) and would in good faith (if someday asked) consider giving self-renewing cells to help others. For folks who can’t or wouldn’t ever offer cells, that’s fine too — just cover the cost of your typing kit, and we’ll interpret your HLA free too.
  • Who will see my data?

    Only you and anyone you choose to share with. In Root, you own your DNA and other data, and fully control it. To do so, you’ll get a personal SciD — a simple privacy-tuned profile, with no personally identifying information, for neatly managing who can get in touch about science studies, family history, etc.
  • Do I have to give cells to join?

    Joining Root takes a cheek swab, not cells. From that, we’ll interpret your HLA for you — and if you wish, we’ll let your country’s donor registry know you’d like to help if someone with similar HLA ever needed self-renewing cells to live. Someday, if you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll get help save such an HLA cousin... but that’s rare (and you can always say no).
  • What kinds of cells could I someday give?

    If ever asked to help an HLA cousin, you could give peripheral blood stem cells, bone marrow, or other self-renewing cells that your body easily replaces but can lastingly help someone else.
  • Does giving cells hurt?

    Thanks to modern methods, much less than you'd think. Most cell donors give blood from an arm (after a drug to boost needed cells) or marrow from a hip (after an anesthetic), then go home the same day to recover well. More than 95% say they’d gladly give cells again.
  • Can I join Root if I’ve already volunteered as a potential cell donor (e.g., BeTheMatch)?

    Absolutely. We founded Root to honor the kindness of potential cell donors, by giving you back your own HLA data, well interpreted, to use in life and for science. As one of >29 million people who have already volunteered, you rock! We, along with patients and their families around the world, love and thank you for doing so.