Human sequencing pioneer George Church desires to provide the energy to promote your DNA on the blockchain • TechCrunch


The blockchain is the buzziest factor on the web nowadays and now MIT professor and godfather of the Human Genome Mission George Church desires to place your genes on it.

His new startup Nebula Genomics plans to sequence your genome for lower than $1,000 (the present going fee of complete genome sequencing) after which add your information to the blockchain via the acquisition of a “Nebula Token.”

The concept sounds outlandish, however Church and his colleagues specified by a just lately launched white paper that this may put the genomic energy within the fingers of the buyer, versus corporations like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, which personal your genomic information after you are taking that spit tube take a look at.

These corporations promote that information in giant swaths to pharmaceutical and analysis corporations, usually for hundreds of thousands of {dollars}. Nevertheless, utilizing the blockchain, shoppers can select to promote their very own information immediately.

Many individuals have but to sequence their information, principally attributable to price or privateness considerations, however with the choice to then promote that information to drug corporations, probably uncover cures for uncommon illnesses and make a buck whereas doing it might sweeten the motivation to sequence.

These shopping for up tokens and sequencing their DNA via Nebula don’t need to promote it for cash, after all, and Nebula says they will nonetheless uncover insights about their very own genetics via the corporate app with out sharing it elsewhere, in the event that they want.

Nevertheless, all purchased and offered information shall be recorded on the blockchain, which is a know-how permitting for the recording of all transactions utilizing a key code identified solely to the one that holds the data.

Will individuals go for this new proposition to purchase a token, sequence their very own information after which promote it immediately? Nebula is just too new to inform proper now — it hasn’t even introduced when or if it’ll maintain a token sale. The tokens additionally won’t accumulate in worth like bitcoin or different cryptocurrencies, as they’re solely redeemable for a person’s DNA information, which the corporate has mentioned it’ll do in partnership with Veritas Genetics, an organization Church additionally co-founded.

Sequencing prices are prone to drop sooner or later, so a Nebula Token might additionally drop in worth as the worth goes down. Nevertheless, as Nebula co-founder Dennis Grishin instructed Stat News concerning the announcement, individuals “will in all probability be immediately and not directly shopping for tokens from people to resell them to information patrons” to attempt to make a revenue.

Co-founder Kamal Obbad additionally famous that as sequencing prices drop, that can appeal to extra patrons. Additional, he mentioned, the dimensions of research will develop, requiring extra tokens for buy.

“These elements will assist preserve a excessive demand for Nebula Tokens,” Obbad instructed TechCrunch, including that the provision of those tokens could be mounted.

Just a few different startups, like EncrypGen, Luna DNA and Zenome, have talked about constructing platforms the place people can promote their DNA information, as effectively, although none of them provide complete genome sequencing and people would wish to acquire their information from a third-party supply first.

These taken with shopping for tokens and promoting their DNA via Nebula can even have to attend a bit. The platform is just not open to take action in the meanwhile. Nevertheless, the corporate says it needs to be prepared within the subsequent few months.



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