"It is exciting to be involved with this groundbreaking collaborative work," said Gholson Lyon, MD, PhD, a principal researcher at the Utah Foundation for Biomedical Research and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "It is extraordinary that Genos will offer us an unbiased way to find mutations in genes dealing with autism and other neurodevelopment conditions, and we look forward to seeing what we are able to discover by using this platform."
In a first for the personal genomics movement, Genos will enable individuals in all studies to retain control over whether and how their genomic data is used in academic and commercial research, and to receive compensation for voluntary participation in research projects.
"Cultivating a community around genomics research promises to illuminate the genetic underpinnings of the human condition, including finding cures to our most elusive diseases," said Mark Blumling, co-founder and CEO of Genos. "It also engages people in their own healthcare like never before. To realize this great potential, we must remove the barriers to accelerating research, and the only way to do that is by putting consent and control over personal genomics data where it belongs—in the hands of individuals."
The newly launched Genos platform will enable anyone to sequence their exome ($499), the part of the genome containing about 80 percent of all known genetic variants associated with disease via a simple saliva sample, and then explore their specific genetic profiles through web-based visualization. By sequencing the exome rather than a small snippet of the genome, individuals get a more comprehensive picture of their genetic blueprints and are able to use that same data for a lifetime of discovery without re-sequencing. Genos will also make available access to genetic counselors for consultations about individuals' personal genetics.
Genos participants can browse studies from academic and commercial researchers to determine which efforts, if any, will receive access to their personal genomic information. Consenting individuals receive transparent compensation for research studies in which they participate. This model also includes a pay-it-forward option that helps friends and family or disease-specific patients also get sequenced. This is a significant departure from current models, which use broad consent requirements to resell genomic data without input from, or compensation for, individuals.
"Genos' goal is to build the world's largest community of empowered, consenting, sequenced individuals, which will have a significant impact on the industry," said George Church, PhD, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and MIT. "If we want to shorten the time to medical cures, we need to break down the silos between genomic data and research and move ownership to the individual. The best way to do that is to foster the relationship between individuals and the research community, which is precisely what Genos is doing."
Prior to the launch, Genos announced a $6 million strategic investment from NantOmics, a wholly owned subsidiary of healthcare and technology company NantWorks. It also revealed its preeminent Strategic Advisory Board, which includes Church and genetics expert Dietrich Stephan (University of Pittsburgh); economist and Nobel Prize laureate Alvin E. Roth (Stanford University); former Uber head of product Mina Radhakrishan; and former StubHub president Chris Tsakalakis (Benchmark Capital entrepreneur-in-residence).
For more information, or to help crowdsource cures on your terms, visit www.genos.co.
About Genos Research
Genos is a crowdsourcing platform for genomics research and discovery. The company's mission is to break down the barriers to accelerate disease research and medical cures. The Genos community democratizes access to comprehensive personal discovery through DNA, and empowers individuals to retain ownership of their genetic data and consent in the research process. Genos is backed by strategic investors with deep roots in health care and technology, and the company's advisors include luminaries in genetics, economics, and consumer technology. For more information, or to help crowdsource cures on your terms, please visit www.genos.co.
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