MIT professor and godfather of the Human Genome Project George Church wants to put your genes on it.
His new startup Nebula Genomics plans to sequence your genome for less than $1,000 (the current going rate of whole genome sequencing) and then add your data to the blockchain through the purchase of a “Nebula Token.”
Church and his colleagues laid out in a recently released white paper that this will put the genomic power in the hands of the consumer, as opposed to companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, which own your genomic data after you take that spit tube test.
These companies sell that data in large swaths to pharmaceutical and research companies, often for millions of dollars. However, using the blockchain, consumers can choose to sell their own data directly.
Those buying up tokens and sequencing their DNA through Nebula don’t have to sell it for money, of course, and Nebula says they can still discover insights about their own genetics through the company app without sharing it elsewhere, if they desire.
However, all bought and sold data will be recorded on the blockchain, which is a technology allowing for the recording of all transactions using a key code known only to the person who holds the information.
- If this idea generates even a tiny bit of money for each individual involved, it might unlock unprecedented access to genetic information for advanced engineering.
- Our genome is the second last thing we’ve left to sell. The last one is our attention. But once they have our genome, our attention may come for free.