The Crowdsourcing Site That Wants to Pool Our Genomes

Ed Jong at the Atlantic: “…In 2010, I posted a vial of my finest spit to the genetic-testing company 23andme. In return, I got to see what my genes reveal about my ancestry, how they affect my risk of diseases or my responses to medical drugs, and even what they say about the texture of my earwax. (It’s dry.) 23andme now has around a million users, as do other similar companies like

But these communities are largely separated from one another, a situation that frustrated Yaniv Erlich from the New York Genome Center and Columbia University. “Tens of millions of people will soon have access to their genomes,” he says. “Are we just going to let these data sit in silos, or can we partner with these large communities to enable some really large science? That’s why we developed DNA.LAND.”

DNA.LAND, which Erlich developed together with colleague Joe Pickrell, is a website that allows customers of other genetic-testing services to upload files containing their genetic data. Scientists can then use this data for research, to the extent that each user consents to. “DNA.LAND is a way for getting the general public to participate in large-scale genetic studies,” says Erlich. “And we’re not a company. We’re a non-profit website, run by scientists.”…(More)”