The Social Networks of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

The Stanford CIRGE journal club is holding a discussion next week on “direct-to-consumer genomics and the impact of obtaining, and sharing PGI, and building population based genomic research.” Essentially, DTC companies are now beginning to generate genetically-informative social network data, which has both huge ethical implications and fascinating research possibilities.

Article Link: http://bioethics.net/journal/j_articles.php?aid=1878

CIRGE journal club link: http://cirge.stanford.edu/activities/journalclubs.html

And for more information about DTC genetic testing see the Genetics and Public Policy Center site here: http://www.dnapolicy.org/policy.gt.php

Apart from the important ethical issues created by empowering people to discover and share their genetic information, I think this is fascinating. Not only can people choose to share information about their genetic profile with others (allowing for the creation of a network based on directed and mutual ties of “gene info sharing”) but the company promotes the use of blogs and discussion forums to create further connections between people with similar genetic profiles. The company is also asking customers to fill out surveys on health and environmental exposures and experiences.

What’s even more exciting is that 23andMe is actively encouraging researchers to partner with the company, by connecting customers interested in participating in research with scientists interested in studying them.

Anyone interested in pursuing this with me?

–Jaime

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