Monday 24 October 2011

My genome analysis part II

My kit arrived, I spat and it is now being processed. It is a pretty neat package with easy to follow instructions. Inside the package was a box containing the kit, which is an Oragene product. Has anyone tested their RNA kits yet?

Before sending it back you have to register the kit on the 23andMe website and link it to an account. The only trouble I had was not being able to enter a UK postcode.

I am now connected to the only other Hadfield on their database and it would be nice if I turned out to be more related to him than anyone else. Lets wait and see.

Consent agreement:
There is a rather lengthy consent document you need to read and sign. This gives 23andMe access to your personal genotype and other non-identifying data for research use in the 23andWe program. As a genomic scientist I am more than happy to do this, large sample sizes are clearly needed for this kind of study. It is a shame that 23andMe don't share the IP with the users. This would be a great way to connect individuals with scientific research. Lets face it the proceeds would be minimal but if they offered a charity donation option then someone other than just 23andMe might benefit.

The lengthy consent agreement is primarily aimed at making sure I can give informed consent to use my data. Surprisingly to me this is the first time I have ever given informed consent.

23andWe projects:
23andWe is running research projects to "understand the basic causes of disease, develop drugs or other treatments and/or preventive measures, or predict a person's risk of disease". The listed projects cover a wide range of from hair colour & freckles to migraine to Parkinson's. They specifically say that they will not investigate "sensitive" topics such as sexual orientaion (although they would need to be analysing methylation for Epigaynomics) or drug use. But if they do decide to do so in the future they would contact me and ask for a separate consent agreement. They will also collaborate with external groups but won't release any identifying information. There is of course the worry that 1M genotypes pretty well identifies me to some people.

There is a great website over at the University of Delaware from John H. McDonald, "Myths of Human Genetics". I am sure there are lots of other interesting questions that the public might engage with. Some of these may not be considered high-brow science but f it gets people involved and they consent for other studies surely that has to be a good thing?

Personally I hope 23andMe do some Psoriasis research. I am a Psoriatic and would like to think about some analysis that might be made using 23andMe data, maybe they will even let users start studies one day?

I am now waiting for the dat to turn up and then I can take a look at what is lurking in my genome. Fingers crossed it has some good news stories to post about!

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