Helix Platform Consent

Last Modified: June 22, 2018

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 this Platform Consent to help you make sense of what using the Helix Platform means. It tells you the benefits, risks, and limitations of using the Helix Platform. Please take the time to read it with care.

If you have questions, 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 must also live in the US. You can also find more details about Helix and the Helix Platform here:

Important terms

Any terms we don’t define here are defined in our Terms of Service or Privacy Policy.

  • DNA Products: Products and services that use portions of your DNA. They are featured on the Helix Platform.
  • Exome+: The type of testing that Helix performs on your DNA. It includes the part that codes for the proteins that tell your body how to function, or your exome. It also includes other DNA regions that are useful for some DNA Products.
  • Genetic Information: Your sequenced DNA and interpretation of the data. 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 Insights: Insights about you provided by Helix based on your DNA.
  • Helix Platform: The Helix Store plus the process we use to collect, sequence, and store your Genetic Information.
  • Helix Store: Where we feature DNA Products.
  • Partners: Other groups that make DNA Products for the Helix Platform. They include medical centers, consumer brands, 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 provides the Helix Platform, which features a number of DNA Products that can give you insights about yourself. Some of them also offer you services based on those insights. There are many types of DNA Products on the Helix Platform. Each type can give you certain kinds of insights. Helix also provides Helix Insights. You can access these insights as part of your Helix Account.

You can use the Helix Platform to browse and buy DNA Products. 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. 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.

Using the Helix Platform

Providing your DNA

To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix collect your DNA from your saliva. Helix only accepts saliva samples. We do not accept other types of samples. To use the Helix Platform, you must first use a Helix DNA Kit to send Helix a saliva sample. You must follow the online instructions to send us your saliva.

We will only sequence your Exome+ DNA for use with the Helix Platform. After we do so, we will store what is left of your sample for as long as we describe in our Privacy Policy. By agreeing to this Platform Consent, you allow us to store your sample for as long as described in our Privacy Policy.

– Getting your DNA sequenced and analyzed

To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix sequence your DNA. We sequence your DNA in our own state-of-the-art lab. (Helix will then store your Genetic Information in our secure system.) Our lab is CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited. Meeting those standards helps us sequence your DNA in ways that are both accurate and reliable.

– Getting insights from DNA Products

You choose the DNA Products you want to use through the Helix Platform. When you use a DNA Product, you choose to learn about the portions of your Genetic Information that it needs.

Each DNA Product you use will:

  • Use portions of your Genetic Information to offer you insights about yourself.
  • Tell you what you can expect to receive from the product.
  • Ask you to give your consent for that product to look at portions of your Genetic Information.
  • Ask you to share some basic details about you, like your age, sex, and email address.

When you choose to use a Partner’s DNA Product, you allow Helix to share portions of your Genetic Information with that Partner. Helix will share the portions that the Partner needs to offer you their product(s) and improve their product(s) over time. In some cases, we will provide some interpretations of your Genetic Information to help power a partner’s DNA Product.

You can ask Helix to stop sharing your information with a given DNA Product. You can do so through your Account Settings. Even so, stopping sharing doesn’t close your account with that product. To close that account, you can contact the Partner who made that DNA Product.

When we sequence your Genetic Information, we subsidize the cost to allow you to access new insights. If you’d like to download all of your Genetic Information, please read our FAQs and contact Customer Care.

– Getting your Helix Insights

If you opt in, Helix will use certain portions of your sequenced DNA to produce your Helix Insights. You can then access your Helix Insights through your Helix Account.

Your Helix Insights may give you a glimpse into what DNA Products could offer you, such as:

  • Where some of your ancestors likely came from;
  • If you are more or less likely to have certain traits, like curly hair or being a night owl.

Helix may also show you which product(s) in the Helix Store take a deeper look at similar insights.

Helix may allow you to connect with other users to share and compare your Helix Insights. You can only compare Helix Insights with users with whom you agree to connect and who agree to connect with you. If you choose not to connect with any other users, no other user will have access to your Helix Insights.

– Giving other information about you

The Helix Platform may also ask for your Self-Reported Information. This information could improve your Helix Insights. In some cases, it could improve the insights you get from DNA Products. It could also support other tools and services through the Helix Platform.

Whether you share Self-Reported Information with Helix is up to you. When you buy a Partner’s DNA Product, Helix may share some of this information with that Partner. The Partner will ask for your consent to use this information when you buy their product. Some DNA Products need this information to function. You control whether you want to share that information with Partners by buying their product(s).

– Helping improve the Helix Platform

Helix may use your Genetic Information or Self-Reported Information as part of a pooled data set. We call these data sets “Aggregated Genetic Information.” This kind of data set combines de-identified data from many Helix Users. These data sets would not include any details that make it easy to identify you. Helix may use these data sets for business or promotional purposes. To use the Helix Platform, you must let Helix use your information as part of these data sets.

Helix strives to give you current, reliable, and high-quality experiences. As such, a key way that we will use Aggregated Genetic Information is to improve the Helix Platform. We may do so 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 them may focus on how you use the Helix Platform. All information used for quality control will be used only within Helix.

You can find more details about how we use Aggregated Genetic Information in our Privacy Policy.

– Taking part in research

You can choose to take part in our research, the Helix DNA Discovery Project. If you choose to take part, your Genetic Information and Self-reported Information would be used for research. You can find more details about the project in our Research Consent.

Closing your Helix Account

You can stop using the Helix Platform at any time. You can also choose to 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, neither you nor Partners can access your information on Helix moving forward. Closing your Helix Account prevents you from buying any more DNA Products and removes access to your Helix Insights. Closing your Helix Account will not close your account with a Partner. Partners may still have data that has already been shared with your consent before you closed your Helix account.

We cannot restore your account if you close it. If you wish to buy new DNA Products or access the Helix Platform, you will need to create a new Helix Account. To do so, you will also need to send in a new saliva sample. When you close your account, we will archive your information. We will keep it archived for as long as we must to meet our legal and regulatory requirements.

Benefits

We intend for you to benefit from the Helix Platform. You can do so by learning about yourself from your DNA. What you learn may be useful for you in a number of ways. You might assuage your curiosity or simply enjoy learning about your genetics. You may also be able to apply what you learn to your health, wellness, family planning, and more.

How you benefit may change as your interests, needs, and motivations change through your life. How you benefit may also change as new DNA Products and Helix Insights are 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 chance, you could learn something about yourself that you didn’t want to know. For instance, you could find out that you were adopted. You could also find out something that concerns you about your health. Since you share DNA with your blood relatives, these learnings could also affect them. You may want to discuss your options with your doctor, a mental health professional, or a genetic counselor before or after you get your results.

Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, (GINA), no employer with at least fifteen workers can ask for your Genetic Information. Neither can any health insurer. However this does not apply to other groups, such as the US military or companies that offer life, long-term care, or disability insurance. Some states have safeguards for those types of insurance. You should be aware of the laws in your state and be careful with whom you choose to share your Genetic Information. Please see our FAQs for more details.

There is a risk of a security event in which someone may access your data without your consent. These data could include your name, contact details, or Genetic Information. When combined, these data could allow someone to connect your Genetic Information back to you.  Helix takes active steps to reduce the risk of such an event. Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.

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

Lastly, each DNA Product has its own risks, benefits, and limitations. The Helix Platform will give you some details about each DNA Product. Each DNA Product will give more in-depth details about it through its Product Consent. You should carefully weigh the risks, benefits, and limitations of each product you choose to buy. You may way want to talk with a genetic counselor. Some DNA Products may give you access to genetic counselors as part of what they offer.

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+. At this time, Helix does not read or store your whole genome. Some of the DNA that Helix does not read could be needed for certain insights.

Your Genetic Information cannot tell you everything about yourself. Your genes are only a part of who you are.

Most traits that your Helix Insights or DNA Products describe are not deterministic. In other words, your results describe your chance of having a given trait, but they can only rarely predict whether you do for certain. In some cases, factors like where and how you live can influence this chance more than your DNA.

Helix Insights describe traits that have been studied mostly in people of European descent. As such, Helix Insights for users from other backgrounds may be less informative. DNA Products may or may not base their results on science that looked at more diverse groups of people.

Your Helix Insights and DNA Products are based on the current state of knowledge. Over time, more will be known about DNA and how it affects traits. As this knowledge improves, we may update your Helix Insights results. Partners may also update the results you get from their DNA Products.

Though not likely, your Genetic Information stored by Helix could have some errors. In some cases, errors can occur when we sequence your DNA or read the stored Genetic Information. Helix has many quality control steps in place to find errors when they occur.

In some cases, we may not be able to sequence your DNA for technical reasons. There may also be other reasons, such as a bone marrow transplant, missing/extra sections of DNA, or not having enough DNA in your saliva.

It’s possible that some or all of your Genetic Information will not meet our quality standards. In that case, some or all Helix Insights or DNA Products won’t be able to use your Genetic Information. These DNA Products will not be available to you.

Questions about the Helix Platform

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