Apple and Your DNA

What do Apple and DNA evidence have in common? This isn’t a crime show plot; this is app technology in the making. Apple wants your DNA sample and then they deliver results to your phone.

Apple is working to launch an app that would test the DNA of those owning a certain iPhone. The app is backed by Research Kit. Research Kit is Apple’s software platform that helps run medical studies on iPhones by collecting data through sensors and surveys. For example, one Research Kit app studies Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and recruited thousands for the study. While this shows Research Kit’s potential in reaching people and fighting diseases, studying DNA is something else. Try convincing people to submit their DNA. It won’t even be collected by Apple, but academic partners. That DNA will then be shared by different recipients. One spokesperson hints the app should be ready by the annual worldwide app developer’s conference, held in San Francisco, CA and scheduled for June 2015. The DNA study would look at around 100 genetic diseases. The tests would cost around $100. The studies would first be approved by Apple and an independent board that oversees research studies, especially ones involving volunteers. Then there’s the whole ‘spit in the cup’ way of collecting the DNA. At least there’s a market for it. In a short time, over 900,000 people paid for such kits. Around the world, over 750 million people have iPhones. You do the math.

One thing that creeps me out is the whole spitting in a cup. I‘m thinking there has to be a better way to collect DNA. You could sweep your mouth with a cotton swab and send it back. You could even swab your skin and send it back. Other than that, Apple has my vote, so long as it’s used for good. If this can treat and eventually cure diseases like Parkinson’s, then this is a great thing. If DNA test are going to be used to track, control, and used against people, then don’t use it at all. Would you sign up for a Apple Research Kit study?

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