The launch of the Sickle Cell Carrier Status Awareness program, an initiative designed to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD), increase access to sickle cell carrier status information, and offer resources for individuals with sickle cell trait and SCD, has been collaboratively announced by 23andMe, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.

“Working together, we have the opportunity to share scientific and health insights for diseases that impact those in the Black and African American community at higher rates, allowing individuals to address health risks early and prevent disease,” said Herman Taylor, endowed professor and director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

As a result of this collaboration, the human genetics testing company 23andMe will offer its Health+Ancestry DNA testing kits at no cost to students, faculty, and staff members of Morehouse School of Medicine, which is a historically black medical college.

“In addition to educating more people on their carrier status, genetic health risks, and potential risks for family members, we believe this collaboration can contribute to more equitable research in, and product development for, groups of non-European ancestry,” stated Joyce Tung, vice president of research at 23andMe.

Read more about SCD etiology

The Sickle Cell Anemia Carrier Status report, developed by 23andMe and authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tests for the HbS variant in the hemoglobin subunit beta gene associated with sickle cell anemia and other forms of SCD.

Program participants will be able to learn more about their ancestral heritage and access over 65 health reports, including genetic reports on conditions that disproportionately affect the Black and African American community. Moreover, individuals who receive their genetic testing results will be offered counseling sessions by the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.

Three hundred million people worldwide and 1 in 13 Black or African Americans in the US are carriers for sickle cell anemia or have sickle cell traits.

This is not the only program launched by 23andMe and Morehouse School of Medicine to increase equity in genetics and genomics. The two have recently conducted research collaborations on topics such as sickle cell traits and COVID-19, and type 2 diabetes-related kidney disease. 


Morehouse School of Medicine, Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia and 23andMe launch Sickle Cell Carrier Status Awareness program. News release. 23andMe Holding Co.; April 11, 2023.