Controversy over scientists plan to map and make public extended family’s genome

Not as many people around the world cared about the genes of Manuel Corpas and his family as he had hoped. As a result, after raising just one-fifth of the money he had aimed for, the 35-year-old bioinformatician of the Genome Analysis Centre in Norfolk, U.K., called an end last week to an effort to crowdsource funding to sequence his family’s DNA, an initiative Corpas says he launched to raise awareness of the coming personal genomics revolution.

Corpas’s project has drawn a mixed response from colleagues and others exploring the personal genomics frontier. “Horror,” for example, is how Darren Logan describes his initial reaction to Corpas’s decision to publish his family’s data. A geneticist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, U.K., who is somewhat of a mentor to Corpas, Logan works with only human genomes that have been encrypted several times to ensure their privacy. Openly shared genetic data is a raison d’être for scientists such as Personal Genome Project founder George Church and the largely Sanger-based geneticists who have published their own data through Genomes Unzipped, but Logan notes that sharing one’s own information is different from sharing your family’s information. And although he supports the project and recently co-authored one of Corpas’s papers, he wasn’t entirely convinced that Corpas had his family’s informed consent.

View the original article here: Keeping It in the Family – Science Now

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