Hacking Your Genome

Most Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) companies like 23 And Me, decodeME, etc. offer raw data of your genome and this can be obtained by a user and used elsewhere.
Obviously, this is an output of the sequencing process before they run their tests but it is nice they make this available to the consumer (a case where competition benefits the consumer).

An example from 23 and Me, where you can browse online through your genome or download it. This can be found by going through the User Profile Menu.

Some third-party companies provide analysis and tools that accept genomic data and then provide insights into it.

A twist to this is making things more open and free, and this movement can only grow.
This concept of using your genome data to do more is called hacking your genome (which makes it sound dramatic).
I think that as developing countries really get into this field, we will see more of these approaches.

The expression “crowd-sourcing your genome” has been making the rounds and to me it means involving users and having the tools to analyze things ourselves instead of getting trickles of information from a health professional.
It involves harnessing the strength of users and having others report on effects or conditions based on the genes you want to analyze and comparing notes.

DIYgenomics is a company that wants to make genomics more open.
They process raw genome data (doing it locally on your machine without uploading your data and so avoiding privacy and security issues) to run a number of tests. It also provides mobile apps that also show which tests are provided by which DTC companies.
A good vision of this company can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQh4kcX-gGU
It lives in a space called citizen-science which I’ll talk about in a later post.

Promethease is a great tool that can run locally and, again, accepts DTC data from a number of vendors – http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Promethease

SNPedia is a website that is built more like a wiki about SNPs or gene mutations, and explains a lot about what the mutations are, etc.
It is a very handy website and I use it often.
They have more detailed information on the topic of testing – http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Testing

A good article from 2009 called My Genome My Self also talks all about these issues and the Personal Genome Project and more.
Also, the Internet has many good articles about Genomes, but they sure are hard to find amongst all the noise.

Recently announced was the news that Amazon.com is making a massive set of genetic data available – http://www.1000genomes.org/
Their idea was to start with 1000 genomes (hence the name) but it has been expanded to 1700 and more.

Wired wrote a good article about it – http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/04/amazon-takes-genomics-research-to-the-clouds/
and also a blog in New York Times – http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/amazon-web-services-big-free-genetic-database/

Hoping this all will lead to a better understanding of the self…


About Ra

Software Engineer (worked in corporations to healthcare start-ups), Geek, Musician, Artist, Fellow Human - living in the covergence space of healthcare, software, interaction design, the quantified self and genetics, music and spirituality
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