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The Gene-Chain (click here to see our products and pricing)
How can we store genomic information more securely, so that its uses can be tracked over time, and so that donors of genomic information can both control and be rewarded for its uses in both personal and large-scale medicine and studies? The growth of technologies that allow us to cheaply and rapidly gather genetic data, and the promise of emerging techniques that allow us to use that data in medicine through trends such as personal genomics and personalized medicine, are also raising concerns about the security and privacy of genomic databases. Collecting genomic data, both through genome sequencing and cheaper “SNP arrays” is important both for scientific research and commerce involving genome sequencing and human health. It is particularly potentially beneficial for personal genomic medicine. While numerous databases already exist to capture genomic data, and to use it both in science and commerce, current schemes to accumulate and proliferate that data for use are insufficiently secure or open. The challenge is to create a secure database for use in both personal genomics and large-scale science, impenetrable to malicious hacking or other unauthorized uses, controllable and trackable for individual donors. “Blockchain” technology is the best technical means to achieve both aims and we outline below a model of a “gene-chain” database as a solution to both ethical and practical problems related to genomic databases.