Apple is working with U.S. researchers to launch apps that would offer some iPhone owners the chance to get their DNA tested, many of them for the first time, according to people familiar with the plans.
The apps are based on ResearchKit, a software platform Apple introduced in March that helps hospitals or scientists run medical studies on iPhones by collecting data from the devices’ sensors or through surveys. ResearchKit launched with apps aimed at studying asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, but now scientists can develop programs that gather information about other medical conditions. Tens of thousands of users have already submitted data to ResearchKit, including 11,000 to a Stanford University cardiovascular trial in the app’s first day. The raw data and interest is there, though the quality of the information sent via ResearchKit is still up in the air, for now.
In two initial studies planned, Apple will not directly collect or test DNA itself. That will be done by academic partners. The data would be maintained by scientists in a computing cloud, but certain findings could appear directly on consumers’ iPhones as well. Eventually, it’s even possible consumers might swipe to share “my genes” as easily as they do their location. Apple is closely involved in shaping initial studies that will collect DNA. One, planned by the University of California, San Francisco, would study causes of premature birth by combining gene tests with other data collected on the phones of expectant mothers. A different study would be led by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Apple is concerned whether consumers are even interested in their DNA. So far, most people still have no real use for genetic data, and common systems for interpreting it are lacking as well.
I wonder how far will they go. Right now you have scientists editing human embryos using CRISPR to correct DNA of the BRCA1 gene. Whats next, the so called perfect baby with high intelligence and hair color.. There are three centers in the United States currently working on human germ-line engineering., as are scientists in China, in the U.K., and at a biotechnology company called OvaScience, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that boasts some of the world’s leading fertility doctors on its advisory board. Some have dropped out of the research. Some say people might pick and choose eye color and eventually intelligence causing a public uproar. A dozen countries have banned Germ-line engineering