Google’s ventures have expanded to the human genome. What started a few years ago with small-scale scientific efforts, expanded to National Geographic’s Genographic Project, and went many commercial directions has now been joined by a Google entry called 23andme. Although it seems aimed mostly at people’s individual curiosity about their genetic endowment, 23andme almost certainly will provide a bonanza for folks interested in studying the genetic endowment of human kind.
To be sure, there are many players (Navigenics, DeCode Genetics, to name a couple of big ones) in the personal genomics game, but with Google behind it, 23andme will likely leap ahead. There will be plenty of questions to consider. Not the least of these from a personal point of view, is the trustworthiness of the providers. To whom will the data be available? What data will be available? Will the data be secure?
Some other questions of interest will also arise. For example, will researchers actually be able to aggregate data? Will the data kept in different data bases be managed in a way that permits one to integrate them?
- George Church and colleagues’ PGP (no, not “pretty good privacy,” rather “personal genome project”) from the Harvard Molecular Technology Group & Lipper Center for Computational Genetics;
- Nature’s “Genomics: The personal side of genomics“;
- Jason Bobe’s Personal Genome;
- Genome Technology even put a reference about 23andme into its on-line poll; check this source for a news story and for more generic info, though;
- Genographic Project;
- deCODE Genetics.