Citizen scientist takes matters into his own hands

diygenomicsSS.jpgScreenshots of the DIYgenomics iPhone app

You may already know 23andMe, the company that trades your spit (and a few Benjamins) for copious amounts of your raw genetic information. But what can you actually do with this data?

Citizen scientist Raymond McCauley did quite a lot, after learning about his genetic predispositions (such as a 30% lifetime risk of age-related macular degeneration). He had a variant of MTHFR (…er… Samuel Jackson’s favorite gene?), responsible for processing vitamin B-9. Wanting a practical answer to the question of what vitamins really work for him (and which might help support vision health), he and a small group at DIYgenomics got together at BioCurious the first biotech hackerspace in the San Francisco Bay Area. They started a “crowd-sourced clinical trial” to measure the effects of different brands and formulations of vitamins.

Check out the full article in this recent issue of Nature Medicine.

Bio: Tito Jankowski co-runs BioCurious, the biotech hackerspace in San Francisco, CA.

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