Apple could have a hand in helping researchers learn more about your DNA.
The company is reportedly planning to work with scientists to collect DNA for genetic research, as a part of its ResearchKit platform.
As outlined in MIT Technology Review’s report, Apple has two studies planned (one with the University of California, San Francisco, and the other with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York) that would allow the partners to collect or test DNA via an iPhone app.
“The data would be maintained by scientists in a computing cloud, but certain findings could appear directly on consumers’ iPhones as well,” the report said, citing sources close to the matter. “Eventually, it’s even possible consumers might swipe to share ‘my genes’ as easily as they do their location.”
Apple announced ResearchKit in March, which collects data from patients via the iPhone, and is said to be a secure portal. People with certain conditions can opt in to participate in various clinical studies and surveys (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) that can be evaluated and analyzed by medical researchers. The goal is to ultimately improve patients’ health and the ability to care for them.
While ResearchKit initially launched with five app partners which collected data on conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and asthma, it opened up the platform to developers and more researchers last month.
Now, DNA-focused studies would allow researchers to examine how genetics are influencing certain medical conditions. For example, UCSF study will look at premature birth causes by combining gene tests of pregnant women with other data collected via their iPhones. Participants would have to take a spit test and return the kit to an Apple-approved lab, which will likely be at UCSF and Mount Sinai, the report said.
Rather than focus on a person’s full genome, the studies will narrow in on about 100 or less disease genes, it added.
While Apple declined to comment on the report, it’s clear that Apple wants to be more than just a little involved in the medical world.
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