As 23andMe Inc. and FDA navigate the path forward for the biotech's genetic testing services, they are setting precedents that could shape personal genetics just as next-generation sequencing is lowering the cost and increasing the potential for individuals to be empowered by information about their genetic characteristics.

FDA's decision to shut down 23andMe's health-related testing services was precipitated by the company's failure to communicate with the agency. But it has shined a spotlight on unresolved questions about government's responsibility and authority to regulate genetic information - as well as the rights of individuals to understand their own genetic information.