Manu Sporny, founder and CEO of Virginia-based Digital Bazaar, became the first person in the world to release his own genetic data as an open source project.
Sporny decided to use GitHub, an online source code repository. The Git repository contains the genetic information for Sporny extracted using a genotyping beadchip, which is capable of detecting around one million genetic markers called SNPs.
The main data file contains roughly 1 million genetic markers that identify things like eye color, whether you are at an increased risk for diabetes, ancestry or even things like if you’re resistant to the HIV virus, or resistance to certain diseases, carrier status of other diseases such as glaucoma, certain types of cancers and obesity.
Sporny's genetic data was compiled by California-based 23andme, a retail DNA testing service. The procedure is that the company sends the paid members a test tube in which his/her spit will be collected and sent back for analysis. Sporny says he's got his spit analyzed for $150 in total.
Of those roughly one million pieces of data (966,977 – to be exact), around 14,515 are known in science and about 160 are used for analysis by 23andme.
What the remaining 952,462 markers do will eventually be known as science progresses and helps determine how we are born, grow, live and die, says Sporny in a blog post.
Sporny has released all his rights to the data held in this repository under a Creative Commons Public Domain License.
I am releasing this data because I believe that it will help others, Sporny says. The question that I kept coming back to was “What is the worst that somebody could do with this data?” – and I couldn’t find something that would cause more harm than the information that is already out there about us.