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US-based start-up will pay in cryptocurrency for providing genetic data

A start-up founded by a Harvard University professor is offering cash to those who wish to provide their genetic data.

By: PTI | Boston | Published: February 12, 2018 8:03 pm
DNA sequencing, US startup buys DNA, genetic data, Nebula Genomics, cryptocurrencies, pharmaceutical companies, genetic sequestration, DNA data, Bitcoin Customers can have their genome sequenced for under ,000, which could then be sold to scientists or pharmaceutical manufacturers. (Image Source: Reuters)

You may soon be able to make money by selling your own genetic data, thanks to a US-based start-up that is offering a service to sequence a customer’s genome. Customers can have their genome sequenced for under $1,000, which could then be sold to scientists or pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The transactions would occur using cryptocurrency technology used for secure valued transactions such as Bitcoin. The company called Nebula Genomics is headed by George Church, who suggests that the approach is the wave of the future. Most other genome sequencing companies retain ownership of user data derived from spit swab genetic samples, leaving customers out of the proceeds when they sell the data to other companies.

Due to price and privacy issues, the number of people taking part in personal genome sequencing is low, the start-up claims. To best make use of genomic data, researchers need samples from more people, which would help reveal trends underlying currently unknown hereditary disease factors, ‘TechXplore’ reported.

The only way to get many more people involved is by guaranteeing that their data will only go where they decide and by bringing the cost down, the startup claims. Customers would be is using a cryptocurrency sold by the start-up. Those wishing to have their genome sequenced would buy a token, which they in turn could sell to another buyer, thereby recovering their initial expenditure.

The value of tokens can change depending on a variety of factors. The tokens can only be redeemed by purchasing someone’s DNA data, their value will depend on the willingness of big companies to use them to pay for data.

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