A "flow cell" used for gene sequencing. Each "lane" contains a sample of patient DNA. Source: MIT Technology Review
Yes. Now private companies will know things about you that you yourself don't know about...
A startup called Helix announced that it would be creating an app store where users can let apps access their DNA. Basically, you pay the company to test your genome(and it has multiple tiers, some of which only sequence part of your genome), it holds that data, and allows you to use apps that have access to this data to, say, predict your sleeping patterns. About a dozen companies have apps available at launch.
How it's described on Helix's website
The technique that Helix uses to test your DNA is more expensive than that of other companies like 23andme, but extracts a lot more information that can be used by apps in the store(only the ones that you allow,i hope...). This technique, called DNA sequencing, was previously only available for patients with rare or abnormal medical conditions, but now, can also be used by normal, healthy people.
For example, this is a screenshot of the page of an app that uses your genome data to give you a custom 12 week training course for fat loss:My thoughts on it
I went to their website, and while they do have a "How it works" page, it's pretty sparse on actual, useful information, with just a standard "We value your privacy" paragraph that all companies have. I think something like this really needs to be as transparent as possible. I think,ideally, health-related data needs to be encrypted and decrypted client-side, in the same way some privacy-focused messengers do it with our messages. Helix doesn't really say how they handle the user's data, although to be fair, client-side encryption is probably impractical for the amount of data they generate and store.
Another potential issue, i think, is the possibility of ineffective apps t...