Citizen scientist takes matters into his own hands

Science
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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