Imagine you could predict an illness or preserve a loved one’s genetic makeup. Or even use your DNA to help scientists unlock some of humanity’s biggest mysteries. You can. This technology exists, and it’s quickly revolutionizing the entire healthcare industry.
George Church, American geneticist, and professor at Harvard and MIT, says “Right now, genome sequencing is like the internet back in the late 1980s. It was there, but no one was using it”
What was once a costly, time consuming procedure is now available in at-home kits or through healthcare professionals for as little as US$1000 and is expected to drop to US$100 in the near future.
This technology is now being used to identify illnesses before they materialize, create huge databases to help consumers trace their ancestry, and as a vital tool for some of the best minds on the planet to discover things about human history which were previously impossible to learn.
Some companies, like DNAtix, are even taking the idea to the next level, integrating blockchain technology to create an entirely new platform for users to access a multitude of tests with cost, privacy, and efficiency in mind.
Genome Sequencing: A Brief History
In 1869, Friedrich Miescher stumbled onto a discovery which changed the course of genetics forever. Under Felix Hoppe-Seyler, during a time when scientists were still debating the concept of “cell,” Miescher isolated a new molecule, the nuclein, from the nuclei of white blood cells, paving the way for the identification of DNA as we now know it.
While the discovery was certainly earth shattering, it wasn’t until 1902 when Walter Sutton and Theodor Boveri independently identified chromosomes as the carriers of genetic material, creating the chromosome theory of inheritance, frequently named the Boveri-Sutton Chromosome Theory, which acted as the building block on which genetic testing was able to grow and thrive.
And in 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick, with vital input from Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, discovered the now-iconic double helix structure of DNA. This breakthrough landed Watson, Cook, and Wilkins a noble prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.
Finally, in 1977, Frederick Sanger and his team developed the very first DNA sequencing technique which was then used to sequence the first full genome, landing the crew a Noble Prize in chemistry in 1980.
10 years later, the Human Genome Project was launched. The project aimed to sequence all 3 billion letters of a human genome, and was completed in 2003, two years earlier than planned spending a gigantic budget of over US$3 Billion.
Another incredible turning point for genetics occurred in 1996, when the world’s most controversial sheep, Dolly, was born following a process of reproductive cloning, sparking ethical and political debates which are still raging on today.
Genome Sequencing: Now
Genome sequencing is still gaining traction as a tool in medicine, but breakthroughs in science have allowed genetics professionals a new opportunity to learn more about the history of humanity, even tapping into some of the oldest data on the planet.
These innovations now allow medical professionals the opportunity to identify illnesses before they even materialize. In the $1.7-trillion personalized medicine industry, DNA mapping is quickly becoming a vital tool that will change the face of treatment forever, truly defining the concept of preventive medicine.
The procedure is also being used in the data-as-a-service industry, with millions of consumers around the world signing up to innovative new for-profit providers to trace their ancestry and learn more about their genetic history, building incredible databases of genetic information along the way.
By 2020, it is expected that over 500 million people will have their DNA sequenced.
Until now, every piece of information a consumer provided, from their name to their payment details was stored with their DNA and test results. Even when service providers have done the best in their efforts to protect the anonymity of the genetic data once payment was involved there was always a crack left open in terms of cyber security. The benefits of DNA sequencing is clear, but what happens when insurance companies, government agencies, or even hackers gain access to this data? For this exact reason DNAtix is developing the blockchain based genetic platform.
Genome Sequencing: The Future
Ofer Lidsky, DNAtix CEO and co-founder notes: “Testing genetics today requires consumers to sacrifice their anonymity and relinquish control of their personal data — this is something we at DNAtix are looking to change.”
Dr. Tal Sines, the company’s CSO and co-founder believes that “Knowledge is power and that by giving our users the knowledge to know what their DNA hold, they can make pro-active decisions to improve their current and future health”.
Indeed, Ofer and Tal’s vision is grand. DNAtix, a genetics blockchain company, is looking to flip the entire industry on its head. With DNAtix, users will be able to test, store, and transfer their data utilizing blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology utilizes cryptographically secured distributed ledgers, which distribute information throughout a network, as opposed to a single point of storage, making the information stored completely anonymous and invulnerable to attack.
This is a game changer.
With the DNAtix platform, privacy is not a privilege, it is a right.
As technology pushes forward faster than ever before, privacy is becoming more and more important. Especially in the world of medicine, where consumers are most vulnerable.
With security and anonymity as a top priority, the possibilities are endless.
The future of DNA mapping is still being realized, and with new discoveries constantly coming to light, the genetics industry becomes even more difficult to navigate. DNAtix is looking to bring it all under one umbrella, creating an entirely new blockchain-based genetic ecosystem for consumers, innovators, and service providers alike. The goal is lofty, but the DNAtix founders and their team of experts are sure to meet the challenge.
Genetics history is being made, and you can be a part of it.
What would you do with your DNA? What COULD you do with your DNA?