Here's a letter to the Wired that was published:
I enjoyed the article about personal genomics company 23andMe ("Your DNA Decoded," issue 15.12). I was especially interested in the visionary and somewhat whimsical idea of connecting social networking with understanding one's genome. We can take this idea a step further and combine it with another phenomenon — the rise of easy-to-make consumer mashups. People could use Web services to share their genomic information in meaningful ways. For instance, friends on a social networking site might look beyond external characteristics like hair and eye color and instead search for sequence variants they have in common. Alternatively, you could mash up genomic profiles with marathon times and highlight common characteristics of fast runners. However, people will only share genomic information if it's done in a way that doesn't reveal too much about themselves: To be viable, genomic mashups should be interesting, but not too specific about future health implications.
Citation of the Letter:
Wired Magainze, Issue 16.02, Pg. 17 (Feb.)
Mark Gerstein, New Haven, Connecticut
Article letter is in response to:
Wired Magainze, Issue 15.12
23AndMe Will Decode Your DNA for $1,000. Welcome to the Age of Genomics
By Thomas Goetz
At the age of 65, my grandfather the manager of a leather tannery in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, suffered a severe heart attack. He had chest pains and was rushed to the hospital. But that was in 1945, before open heart surgery, and he died a few hours later. By the time my father reached 65, he was watching his diet and exercising regularly. That regimen seemed fine until a couple of years later, when he developed chest pains during exercise, a symptom of severe arteriolosclerosis. A checkup revealed that his blood vessels were clogged with arterial plaque. Within two days he had a triple bypass. Fifteen years later (15 years that he considers a gift), he's had no heart trouble to speak of.....
Text that was submitted to the magazine (before editing):
I enjoyed the recent article about the new personal genomics company, 23andMe, and was especially interested in their visionary and somewhat whimsical idea of connecting social networking with understanding one's genome. We can take this idea a step further and combine it with another emerging phenomenon of the past year -- the creation of easy-to-make consumer mash-ups (such as Yahoo Pipes). Then, we can begin to imagine people using web services to interrelate and give personal meaning to their genomic information, just as we currently see discrete bits of apparently meaningless data related to location come together into an emergent whole when they are mashed up with a map service such as Google's -- think of collecting all the photos taken near Times Square on Flickr to get an overview of the neighborhood. However, unlike the case of vacation photos, people will only be willing to share genomic information if they are not worried that it reveals too much about themselves. That is, to be viable mash-ups of genomic information should be interesting, but not too specific about future health implications.
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