A New Company Wants to Sequence Your Genome and Let You Share It on a Blockchain

Disclaimer: I am questioning the wisdom of this proposal. I don’t think I will participate. However, it is an interesting story so I will mention here and let you make up your own mind. Nebula Genomics plans to address one of the concerns about taking DNA tests: Who owns your test results? You? Or the company that did the testing?

Nebula Genomics says it plans to sequence your genome for under $1,000, give you insights about it, secure it using a blockchain, and allow you to do whatever you want with the data.

Nebula is the brainchild of PhD student Dennis Grishin, graduate Kamal Obbad, and geneticist George Church, all from Harvard. Mirza Cifric, CEO of Veritas Genetics, which offers a genome-sequencing service for $999, is a founding advisor.

When you pay to take a DNA test—through MyHeritage, 23andMe, Helix, or Ancestry.com, for example—the company that does the testing owns your genetic data. Nebula wants to sequence people’s entire genomes and let them own it, allowing them to earn digital money by sharing it.

You can read more in a story by Emily Mullin in the Technology Review web site at http://bit.ly/2C4yp7V. A white paper describing Nebula Genomics’ plan in detail is available at: http://bit.ly/2Eux9QM.

5 Comments

I’m not sure where you are getting the information that the testing companies “own” your genetic data. That is not true. Please amend your post.

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    —> I’m not sure where you are getting the information that the testing companies “own” your genetic data.

    It is not my data. It is a claim made by Nebula Genomics, the new start-up company that is offering the new service. I have a different opinion. I already issued a disclaimer showing my opinion at the beginning of the article when I wrote, “I am questioning the wisdom of this proposal. I don’t think I will participate.”

    However, whether I agree or not is not the issue. The fact remains it is news about a start-up company addressing the genealogy marketplace. I would be remiss if I didn’t publish a short article about their service and their claims.

    If you look back at the articles I have published over the years, you will find quite a few where I described services or products that I did not approve of myself. However, I refuse to become the censor of what is good or bad. I have no plan to emulate the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for the genealogy marketplace. If it is news and if it is related to genealogy, history, or a number of related topics, I probably will publish it (frequently including my own opinion, as I did this time). That includes articles about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Thank you.

    – Dick Eastman

    Like

Why would anybody want to spend that kind of money for this? What will it net them? Now or in the next 5-10 years.

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    —> Why would anybody want to spend that kind of money for this?

    I doubt if many individuals will purchase this. I suspect the primary audience will be doctors’ offices, medical offices, and others in the medical or DNA businesses. I suspect the producing company may sell a bunch of these to corporations.

    Liked by 1 person

    Interesting. For some reason the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks comes to mind.

    Like

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