Platform Consent

Last Updated: November 21, 2016

When you use Helix, you put your trust in us. Our goal is for you to always feel informed, empowered, and respected during your Helix experience.

We’ve written the document below to help you understand the potential benefits, risks, and limitations of using Helix. This is important. Please take the time to read it carefully.

We’re here to help! If you have any questions, you can contact us or call 1-844-211-2070.

You must be 18 or older to use the Helix Platform. You can also find more details about Helix and the Helix Platform here:

Important terms

  • CLIA: The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. CLIA rules govern how labs (like the Helix lab) function and run. CLIA rules are federal and apply throughout the US.
  • DNA Product: Products and services that use portions of your DNA. They are featured on the Helix Platform. While Helix may make some of them, most of them are made by our Partners.
  • Exome+: The type of testing that Helix performs on your DNA. It includes your exome (about 2% of all your DNA). It also includes other DNA regions that we believe can be useful for some DNA Products.
  • Genetic Information: Your sequenced DNA. We derive it from your saliva sample and store it for you to use with DNA Products.
  • Helix: Us! When you see the words “we,” “us,” or “our,” we’re talking about Helix.
  • Helix Platform: Where we feature DNA Products. It is a crucial part of what Helix offers you. This document provides you with details you should know about it.
  • Partners: Other organizations that make DNA Products for the Helix Platform. They range from academic medical centers to well-known consumer brands to patient foundations and more.
  • Self-Reported Information: Other details about you that aren’t a part of your DNA. It may include details about your health, family tree, lifestyle, and behaviors.

Purpose of the Helix Platform

Helix was founded to empower every person to improve their life through their DNA.

To that end, Helix hosts the Helix Platform. This platform features a number of DNA Products that can (a) give you insights about yourself or (b) offer you services that relate to those insights. There are many types of DNA Products on the Helix Platform. They include health, wellness, ancestry, educational insights, and more.

Any DNA Product that you buy will look at and interpret only a portion of your Genetic Information. Each product uses only portions of your Genetic Information. The idea is that you can learn from your DNA over time — as it becomes relevant and interesting to you.

The Helix Platform does not provide you with access to all of your Genetic Information at one time. Before you buy a product, you’ll be informed what you can expect to learn from it. You’ll also learn what information will be shared with the Partner who created it.

You can use the Helix Platform to browse DNA Products that you can buy. Over time, new DNA Products will be added to the Helix Platform. You can buy as many (or as few) of these products as you want.

Using the Helix Platform

Collecting your DNA

To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix collect your DNA from your saliva. Helix only accepts saliva and does not accept other types of samples. To use the Helix Platform, you must first receive a Helix saliva collection kit. You must follow the instructions at helix.com/start to send your saliva to Helix.

– Sequencing your DNA

To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix sequence your DNA. We sequence your DNA in our own state-of-the-art laboratory. (Helix will then store your Genetic Information in our secure system.) Our lab is both licensed by the State of California and certified to meet CLIA standards. Meeting those standards helps us ensure that your results are both accurate and reliable.

Our Exome+ sequencing does not read most of the genome. Some of the portions that we don’t read may be needed to interpret how some genes function.

Some DNA may be left over after we sequence it. If so, we will store this DNA. We will use stored DNA for internal quality control and improvements. If possible, we may use this DNA to offer you new or improved sequencing services. This may mean that we store this DNA indefinitely.

– Getting genetic insights

You choose the DNA Products you want to buy through the Helix Platform. When you buy a DNA Product, you are choosing to learn about the portions of your Genetic Information that it looks at.

Each DNA Product you buy will:

  • Use portions of your Genetic Information to offer you insights about yourself.
    • A DNA Product may also offer you services that relate to those insights.
  • Tell you what you can expect to receive from the product.
  • Ask you to give your consent to use that product.
    • This consent is separate from this Helix Platform Consent.
  • Ask you to allow Helix to share the portions of your Genetic Information for the product and/or service.
  • Ask you to share some basic details about you.
  • Interpret your Genetic Information and give you the insights you have chosen.

To use a DNA Product, you must allow Helix to share portions of your Genetic Information with the Partner who made the product. Helix will only share the portions that the Partner needs for the product you’ve bought. By giving your consent here, you agree to sharing these portions for your first DNA Product. Each time you buy a new DNA Product, Helix will request your consent to share the portions needed for that product.

All products will also ask you to share some basic details about you. Some of these details, like your age and sex, will help to set up your profile with the DNA Product. Other details, like your name and email address, will also be used to get in touch with you.

You can ask Helix to stop sharing your information with a given product. You can do so through your Account Settings.

– Giving other information

The Helix Platform may also ask for your Self-Reported Information. This information could improve the insights you get from DNA Products. They could also enable other experiences and support services through the Helix Platform.

Whether you share Self-Reported Information with Helix is up to you. You can also control whether you want any of that information to be shared with Partners or other groups. Helix will clearly inform you when you have such sharing options.

– Improving the Helix Platform

Helix is dedicated to giving you current, reliable, and high-quality experiences. We will use the information you give us to improve the Helix Platform with our quality control methods. Some of these methods may focus on how we sequence your DNA. Some of them may focus on how we store and send your Genetic Information. Some of these may focus on how you use the Helix Platform. All information used for quality control will be used only within Helix. To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix use your information for quality control.

Closing your Helix Account

You can stop using the Helix Platform at any time. To do so for a short time, you can stop using the DNA Products that you bought.

You can also choose to permanently close your Helix Account. (More details about this can be found in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.) If you close your Helix account, we will remove your Genetic Information from it. That means your Genetic Information can no longer be accessed through the Helix Platform. We will archive your information as long as required to satisfy our state and federal legal obligations or regulatory requirements.

We cannot restore your account if you close it. If you wish to buy future DNA Products after you close your account, you will need to create a new Helix Account and submit a new DNA sample.

Security

Helix uses a number of methods to keep your information as private and secure as we can. Our methods at least meet industry standards. Our methods include encrypting data both while moving (being sent) and while at rest (being stored). They also include using strict authentication requirements for any access to the data. From time to time, Helix also tests how secure our systems are. This allows us to find and fix points of weakness. We will also test the security of our Partners’ systems.

Benefits

We intend for you to benefit from the Helix Platform. You can do so by learning insights about yourself from your DNA. These insights may be helpful for your health, wellness, family planning, curiosity, education, and more. How you benefit may change as your interests, needs, and motivations change through your life. How you benefit may also change as additional DNA Products continue to be added to the Helix Platform. You may benefit in ways that we can’t predict today.

Risks

There are some risks that come with using the Helix Platform. There is a risk that, through a DNA Product, you could learn something about yourself that you didn’t want to know. This could include finding out that your relatives are not related to you by blood. It could also include finding out something concerning about your health. Since you inherit your DNA, these learnings could also affect your family.

Under US law, you do not need to share your Genetic Information with your employer or your health insurer. Even so, you may be asked to share your Genetic Information with other insurers. These others could include life, long-term care, and disability insurance. (Please see our Terms of Service for more details about this.) You should always be careful with whom you choose to share your Genetic Information.

There is also a risk of a security event. In such an event, someone could access your information. This could include your name or contact details. It could also include your Genetic Information. As described above, we have security plans in place to help prevent such an event.

Helix may need to share your Genetic Information with regulators and law enforcement. We will only share your information if we are compelled by law to do so. (Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.)

Each DNA Product will have its own risks, benefits, and limitations. The Helix Platform provides information about each DNA Product. Partners also provide details about the insights you may receive from each DNA Product through their consent processes. You should carefully weigh the risks, benefits, and limitations of each product you choose to buy.

Limitations

The Helix Platform has some limitations. Some of these are unique to Helix. Some are related to genetic testing in general. Many of these are also discussed in our Terms of Service.

Helix reads and stores your Exome+ (as described above). At this time, Helix does not analyze your whole genome. There may be information in your DNA that Helix does not read. That information could be important for certain insights.

Your Genetic Information cannot tell you everything about yourself. Most traits are due to a mix of your DNA and other factors. These could include your lifestyle, your environment, or chance.

Genetics is a field that is evolving quickly. Scientists are always discovering new information about how to interpret genetic information. They are also learning that some information that was previously discovered is not valid. DNA Products are based on the current state of knowledge. They may not yet be able to give results for some parts of your Genetic Information. They may also change their results in the future.

Though not likely, it is possible that your Genetic Information stored by Helix could have some errors. In some cases this could be due to issues with your saliva sample. Helix has many quality control steps in place to find errors if they occur. In some cases errors can occur during DNA sequencing or while processing the stored Genetic Information. It is possible that a part of your Genetic Information will not meet our quality standards. In that case, that part of your Genetic Information will not be available for interpretation. You may not be able to buy a DNA Product if it requires Genetic Information that is not available for you.

Questions about the Helix Platform

You may have questions about Helix, the Helix Platform, or your use of it. If you do, you may contact Helix Customer Care here or call 1-844-211-2070.