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The "genetic wallet" that will contain confidential genetic information with the help of blockchain

The Israeli startup DNAtix develops security solutions for receiving genetic services has officially announced the launch of anonymous genome sequencing based on Blockchain technology. This opens the door to an entire ecosystem, for example scientists will be able to conduct research on the genomes of millions of people without violating their privacy

Genome and blockchain. Illustration: shutterstock
Genome and blockchain. Illustration: shutterstock

Genetic tests have recently become common among people who want to know what genetic diseases they carry and on the way also to find relatives on the other side of the world. An entire industry has been founded around this service. The first human genome mapping cost hundreds of millions of dollars and took seven years, today you can send a saliva sample and receive the results of such a test within a few days at a cost of $150-100 from companies such as the Israeli May Heritage or the American 23 and Me.

 

At the same time, a whole industry has developed for her of companies that decode the DNA according to the sequence that the flooring company sent to the customer. This makes it possible, for example, to discover family ties even if each of those involved took the genetic test in a different company. The other side of the same coin is her lack of ability to maintain anonymity.

Here comes an idea of Israeli startup DNAtix that matches the testers and the tested using blockchain, the same technology developed for Bitcoin and digital currencies, has already developed into many applications where a type of smart contract is required, not necessarily digital money.

DNATIX recently announced that it was able to perform the first successful transfer of an entire chromosome using Blockchain technology. In collaboration with IBM and with the help of the HyIBM's perledger The Israeli startup company managed to transfer the chromosome of the pioneer of the genome Craig Venter. This is an achievement that drives humanity to new discoveries in the innovative frontier of genetics research and solutions. As far as is known, this is the first time that someone has successfully transferred a DNA sequence on Blockchain. Following this, the company intends to be the first to bring the complete genome sequence through a direct-to-consumer (D2C) platform.

 

DNAtix was founded by two entrepreneurs, Ofer Lidsky, a serial entrepreneur and expert in the field of software and information security, and Dr. Tal Sins, a graduate of the Weizmann Institute and in his last position he served as the Technion's intellectual property manager. Later they were joined by Dr. Yitzhak Adiges, an expert who advised governments and large companies.

In a conversation with the science website, Lidsky said: "The genetic wallet we are developing is part of a comprehensive ecosystem. The process begins with a person performing a full genome sequencing process at one of the companies involved in this. In this process, the genetic code is actually transferred from the body to a computer file. The price of this process may drop below a hundred dollars in the next year or two, and many people will be able to sequence their genome and look for meaning in it."

 

"We are developing an infrastructure that makes it possible to take this genomic sequence, upload it securely into a dedicated blockchain so that genetic testing and analysis can be performed on the DNA and remain anonymous."

"The ecosystem will allow all players in the world of genetics to work together. Researchers will be able to put out a call for a specific gene or a specific region of DNA that they want to study and consumers will be able to choose if they are interested in participating in the studies and will receive a reward determined in the experiment itself. This opens up new possibilities for the world of genetic research, which is currently very problematic and limited. It is very difficult for researchers to obtain many samples. Thanks to this, consumers, health institutions, research centers and clinics, who wish to use, test or collect DNA data can now connect and work together for better health solutions and feel confident in sharing their genetic information. Today, the availability of the genetic samples that a researcher can work on is low due to the lack of anonymity. The development of DNAtix will provide infrastructure for producing tests, conducting research and planning new treatments."4

 

"to inherit" a coded genome

"The user has a wallet that represents him in the system and inside the wallet is his DNA and genetic tests. The genetic wallet is the interface between the user and the ecosystem and there he performs his genetic tests and participates in research and can even do a DNA inheritance process. to his descendants so that, for example, a great-grandson who has not yet been born can search for genetic clues generations back if necessary. This has a tremendous meaning - it will be possible to know with greater precision how the genes will express in that great-grandson."

Lidsky explains that this is a significant advance, when in December 2017 the company's people managed to send a short genomic sequence of a virus, on the blockchain of the Ethereum association, and as mentioned three weeks ago we already managed to transfer a complete human genomic sequence.

How much does such a file weigh?

"A full sequence of a human being weighs 1.5 gigabytes. It may not sound like a lot, but it is orders of magnitude compared to all the information that has been connected to the blockchain so far. As part of the development, we released the first open source tool that compresses the sequence by 75% and we are working on a compression method that will significantly improve this figure. In the next six months, we intend to release genetic testing packages that will use the technology."

However, Lidsky admits that the company is not the only one in the market and that five serious players from India, Russia and the USA are already operating in parallel with it, but according to him, the other companies are still in the planning stage and have not yet shown the feasibility of the Israeli company, which has nine employees, plus about ten external consultants.

 

In conclusion, Lidsky said: "The world of medicine is moving to personalized medicine and preventive medicine. The mainstay of these two trends is genetics. We make it possible to return control of the genetic information to the individual."

5 תגובות

  1. Yosef
    "Defective" people? Have you no shame?!?

    Hawking's disease has no genetic link.
    Beethoven's deafness was not genetic.
    Ramanujan died of complications from dysentery, an infectious disease.

    And there is no ISO 68000…

    talk nonsense anyway - but why be rude???

  2. Regarding the share of electric energy, there is an ISO 68000 standard for keeping this information, so-called anonymous.
    In my opinion, the time has come for ethics in genetics as well. Although the information is anonymous, but if they find out that genetic sequences lead to diseases and in my experience, we all have defective genes, we will start with genetic planning - the governments. Although on the other hand - medical research will also run forward. Genetic planning we learned - bad. By genetic design Hawking had no reason to keep him alive. Without Hawking we wouldn't have: knowledge of black holes, the books Abridged History of Time and others, a struggle to understand the vulnerability of severely disabled people to harassment, and a loud warning about artificial intelligence.

    A review of history shows that many flawed people have produced huge theories. Ramanujan, Beethoven. Opinionated thinkers.
    In my opinion, civilizations inherently advance scientifically in the end, but most of them probably do not survive their cultural immaturity. Therefore, it is probably very worthwhile to have life in many places in the universe, so that some of them probabilistically survive the crises, for a longer period.

  3. Hello again,

    I remembered something else.

    If you reach the articles through the categories, you can see how many comments there are for that article.

    (Above the title of the article, there is a red line in small letters that indicates the date, the number of responses to the article, and the author).

  4. Peace,

    I'm not sure of my words.

    If my memory serves me well, in one of the comments in the past, my father wrote that he was unable to read all the comments or even
    It is unreasonable to expect him to do so.

    And if someone wants to ask him something or tell him something, write to him by email.

  5. Hello Avi Blizovsky,

    Isn't it time to fix the ongoing problems on the "Recent Comments" page? Many messages appear there in duplicate two or three times, and the message I sent almost half an hour ago (in the article about the ants) still does not appear there, and from experience it will take a long time for it to appear.

    And why is it so complicated to write next to each article how many comments have been made to it to save us having to enter each article separately to check?

    It's been a long time since the launch of the new website and it doesn't seem like anyone is going to address these issues, will it just stay like that and that's it?

    In addition, I recommend displaying already on the main page (and not through a link) a window with at least 20 recent comments written, it will be really convenient. Basically as it was in the previous interface and it's a shame you changed it.

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