“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.”
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.