The post-genomic era has seen an upsurge in direct-to-consumer testing services. Members of the public are now able to access their genetic information without involving a healthcare professional. There are advantages to this approach to genetic testing: it allows people to gain an insight into diseases they may be predisposed to develop and play a more proactive role in their healthcare. Despite this progress in personal genomics, most people choose to keep their genetic data private, and a consequence of this is that very little personal genomics data is made available in the public domain.
Dr Manuel Corpas, a Bioinformatician and author for Source Code for Biology and Medicine, has taken steps to challenge this status quo; he has sequenced the genomes of his family, whilst making this data freely available and reusable on the internet. In his first column for Source Code for Biology in Medicine, Manuel invites people to analyze his data and develop open source tools for this analysis, encouraging crowdsourcing of personal genomics data and raising awareness of the benefits of making such data open to the scientific community. In the spirit of open source research, he also asks the scientific community to make their analyses and tools for this data freely available to others.
His ultimate goal is to stimulate a thriving open community of personal genome developers and hobbyists. In an accompanying video, Manuel further explores how far we can go with our own personal genome data and the benefits of making it publicly available.