Start up Nebula Genomics offers free full genome sequencing, but there’s a privacy catch

| | November 19, 2018
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Information wants to be free, says the old internet meme, and a genomics company will now apply that to DNA: … the startup Nebula Genomics is giving customers the option of having their full genome sequenced at no cost, a first for direct-to-consumer genetics.

There is, naturally, an itsy-bitsy little catch. Customers will have to answer a handful of questions about their health and other traits … in order to earn credits toward free sequencing. Answering the questions will earn enough credits, or “tokens” as the company calls them, to score free DNA sequencing.

Those who opt out of sharing information about themselves can get their DNA sequence for $99, a bargain compared to the $199 or so for other direct-to-consumer genetics companies such as 23andMe, which analyze a handful of disease-related regions of the genome rather than sequencing the whole thing.

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Nebula hopes the sequence data it generates for all customers, plus the health and other information it collects from some, will support all sorts of studies by pharma, biotech, and academic researchers. Those researchers will pay Nebula for access to data, all of it anonymized, much as GlaxoSmithKline is paying 23andMe $300 million for access to its customers’ data, hoping to find in it leads for new drugs.

Read full, original post: Offering free DNA sequencing, Nebula Genomics opens for business. But there’s an itsy-bitsy catch

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