A well-organized, highly curated database of genetic data from millions of people is a potential goldmine for drug company researchers and other scientists.
Aiming at a more mainstream audience, companies like 23andMe introduced a new vision: charging a modest amount for analysis along with interpretations aimed at ancestry, health, or pure curiosity. A 23andMe report is $99, or $199 for a deluxe version that includes health information.
…[Sequencing for the masses] turns the market on its head. In this vision, DNA data is treated a lot like other personal digital information: If it’s collected in bulk, anonymized, and aggregated, it can be mined for value. […] These little startups and university-based projects pay you for your data, either with cash or with new knowledge.
The latest project at the startup DNAsimple is also meant to entice families to create pools of data that can be extremely valuable for genetic research. Beginning later this month, DNAsimple will offer the family members a report about their ancestry and traits — so you could learn whether you share a baldness pattern with your uncle, or whether you really have your mother’s eyes. If it takes off, it might even set a lower price for DNA data: A swap of information for more information, with no money exchanged at all.
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