Google TechTalk on personal genomics

Personal genomics is just starting and this talk gives a preview of what one of the first companies is doing to bring this to market, though the field is starting to heat up with some competition.

Surprising facts from the video:

  1. 23andme co-founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Google co-founder Sergei Brin
  2. Data portability is already available. According to the video, users can download the raw data from the 580,000 SNP array and do whatever they want with it.
  3. The SNP array is 580,000 SNPs! Wow. I assumed that the number of genetic features was on the order of 100-1000, giving a rough haplotype.
  4. Sharing/Web 2.0 features: The real power is 23andwe, an effort to data mine and leverage the power of a large database with many people’s genetic information. The founders mention that they want to contribute back to science and healthcare by surveying their customers behaviors and medical issues to uncover further correlations with genes. Like Facebook, the service becomes more valuable and more informative as the network grows.

Description of the talk from Google:

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service offers customers a glimpse at their own DNA sequence, a 750-megabyte string that functions as the operating system for a human being. Common variations in this code can influence the structure and function of the associated wetware in predictable ways. Some of these variations and their effects on traits such as athletic talent, pain sensitivity and avoidance of errors will be discussed in reference to three well-documented examples.

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