Can Apple’s foray into open-source DNA data succeed?

A new rumor is spreading that Apple may be leveraging its ubiquity to encourage iPhone owners to participate in DNA testing, perhaps to bulk up the medical data-collecting capabilities of its ResearchKit.

According to Antonio Regalado at MIT Technology Review, Apple will work with academic partners to collect and test the DNA, and may provide add-ons such as the ability to widely share genetic information directly from an iPhone with a single swipe.

This wouldn’t be the first time genetic researchers have tapped into social networks to recruit participants. University of Michigan’s Genes for Good project is using a Facebook app to encourage 20,000 volunteers to share information about their genes, health, habits, and moods to help the researchers uncover new connections between genetic variants, health, and disease.

On one hand, it is hardly shocking that Apple would join the trend towards so-called open-sourcing DNA, or want to add genetic data-collection to its increasing selection of quasi-medicalized self-quantifying tools.

On the other hand, it could be smarter for Apple to sit this one out. 23andMe has been struggling to maintain relevancy since the FDAordered the Silicon Valley-based company to stop providing genetic health information after repeated failures to prove its analytical or clinical validity. Moreover, patent infringement lawsuits are ongoing atvarious companies. And shocking stories about the endless possibilities for DNA hacking (not to mention the more mundane concerns of workplace discrimination and increasing insurance premiums) are becoming more commonplace.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policing

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