Frequently Asked Questions


Our founder, Spencer Wells, is widely credited with launching the personal genomics industry when he partnered with National Geographic, IBM, and the Waitt Family Foundation in 2005, to create The Genographic Project based on his earlier work, best-selling book and film, The Journey of Man. The blue-sky aspirations of that project were to create the first-ever map of human migration. Wells postulated that, by testing the DNA of indigenous people, we could trace genetic markers along migration paths and finally bring into focus the paths that humans took as they journeyed out from the cradle of humankind to populate the rest of the world. The Genographic Project also featured a public participation kit that was the first of its kind, launching an industry.

The Insitome Institute began as Insitome, a for-profit company focused on combining the most advanced sequencing technologies with expert storytelling to chronicle a human saga that spans thousands of generations, helping people uncover their personal genomic story, chapter by chapter, trait by trait.

The Science:


At its core, public policy is the result of the government making decisions to solve problems and improve the quality of life for its people. The Insitome Institute serves the public by informing policymakers and their legislative aids about the latest advances in personal genomics and the situations brought into being by these advances. We do this through publishing a broad range of content (genomics news feed, The Insight podcast, Insitome blog, monthly newsletter) and scientific white papers.

Partnering in the Community:

The Insitome Institute partners with Middle Schools and High Schools to use cutting-edge science and genetic history to get at some tough issues, from racial tensions to cultural divisions, co-creating curriculum and programs designed to bring the student body together and enhance their world view through our innovative STEAM programs.

Partnering in Business:

The Insitome Institute engages in the corporate space through custom-crafted programs that explore divisions that arise from perceived differences between people. We work with CMOs and HR to explore where stereotypes and biases exist at a deep level, then craft programs that blend DNA testing and interpretation within a social context to break apart these outdated approaches and promote inclusive thinking, bringing out the best in talent.

Partnering with Academia:

Advancements in science come from inside academia and from the scientists working in the field. The Insitome Institute serves as a bridge between the two. We take the long view and aim to serve both with our repository of reference populations. Dr. Wells is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas, and a Visiting Professor at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Partnering within our Industry:

We are self-described DNA Geeks and we are excited about where the industry is headed. We understand a rising sea lifts all boats. By serving as a conduit between the latest scientific advancements, the providers who are using the science and individuals who are seeking results, we aim to promote best practices in testing, data analysis and to safeguard privacy.