A Startup Company to Offer Genetic Privacy with Anonymous DNA Sequencing
Publish Date: October 10, 2019
You might have heard of genomes being sequenced—for instance, the human genome was completed in 2003, after several years of combined efforts of scientists from all over the world. But then what does it exactly mean to sequence a genome or even a small piece of DNA?
DNA sequencing is the method of identifying the sequence of nucleotide bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine—that make up a strand of DNA) in a piece of DNA. It is a technology in which numerous DNA strands can be sequenced using enormous parallelization. This sequencing includes both Sanger’s and non-Sanger’s techniques of sequencing. Today, with the development of right equipment and methods, sequencing a short piece of DNA is comparatively effortless and easy than before.
Everyone is aware that cancer is a disease rooted in our genes. But figuring out how our genes control cancer is a mystery that is still unsolved. However, recent developments in DNA sequencing methods are helping in resolving this mystery—and the more we find out, the closer we get to better treatments.
With technological developments and automation techniques, the speed of DNA sequencing process has increased and has also lowered the prices to the point where individual genes can be sequenced regularly. Today, some laboratories are well efficient in sequencing around 100,000 billion bases every year, and the price for a complete genome has come down to a cost which is just around a few thousand dollars.
A report by Research Dive says that the growth in trends in the personalized genomics for treating several health disorders, genetic disorders, and developments in the DNA sequencing techniques and the rise in the occurrence of pre-natal & neo-natal disorders and cancers across the North American region is pushing the North American DNA sequencing market to grow with a CAGR of 15.9% from 2019 to 2025.
Recently, a start-up DNA-testing company Nebula Genomics declared that it will deliver anonymous DNA sequencing. It’s the first ever company to do so by keeping in mind peoples’ concerns related to the privacy of genetic data and law enforcement usage of public DNA databases to detect suspects.
Dennis Grishin, the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Nebula stated that the company will provide whole-genome sequencing reports to their clients without asking them to share their name, address, or credit card information.
The customer will have to pay using a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin or a debit card or prepaid credit. They can use an anonymous P.O. box to collect the sample collection kit. To obtain the reports of the test, customers will have to create an email address not traceable to them (Nebula recommends ProtonMail). By using a blockchain technique, Nebula Genomics has indeed created a way for customers to get their genomes sequenced without unveiling personally-identifying information.