Sunday, April 06, 2008

genomic networking

I read an article in the Baltimore Sun today that brought to my attention a novel twist to social networking sites. Many of the new companies that offer genetic screening services (e.g. 23andme,, and African Ancestry) also offer social networking features to their customers, to facilitate connecting with others determined to have a similar genetic makeup. I can imagine this would be a very useful capability for those researching family ancestry, as well as for networking between those thought to have a substantially increased risk of developing specific diseases.

I suppose these services have to have their privacy and information security policies very well thought out, considering common concerns about misuse of personal information (recall Sarah's blog post on this topic). It's one thing to be judged by your web presence and or purported actions, but quite another when they know the details of your genome. (And as a side note, it's interesting to learn about the connections between 23andme and Google... talk about "knowing your customers"!)

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