“This will enable research on a much broader scale,” 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki said. “Incorporating genetics into a platform with the reach of ResearchKit will accelerate insights into illness and disease even further.”
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The module allows 23andMe customers to provide personal information at their discretion, which researchers can then compile as metadata for use in studies. Once a participant agrees to be part of a study, researchers can only access their data via a 23andMe API.
All studies are approved via an independent panel — the Institutional Review Board — which makes sure studies are ethical and legal. Participants are also able to opt-out at any time, and 23andMe encrypts and “de-identifes” all data before it’s sent to researchers.
The last time we heard about 23andMe was when they had a run-in with the FDA, which asked it to stop selling a gene testing kits for two years before approving it late last year. Using ResearchKit won’t get the company in any hot water, unless it does a poor job of protecting user data.