Helix, the App Store for Your Genome

Charlotte Kuijpers
October 6th 2017

What would you like to learn from your DNA? Which sleep pattern fits you best? Or what traits did you inherit from a Neanderthal? Thanks to a new "app store for your genome" called Helix you can digitally explore your genetic code by downloading different applications on your computer or smartphone.

Helix is not just another DNA reading service. Unlike 23andMe and AncestryDNA, Helix offers a variety of applications, made by third party companies. “Sequence once. Discover again and again”. In other words: the user spits in a tube just one time. The genetic information can be used in multiple extensions, similar to a DNA App Store, or in-app purchases.

This online hub provides a variety of themes. You can take an Inherited Cholesterol Test, but also order a personalized scarf with a representation of your DNA. The serious genetic screening to find out whether you're carrying a certain disease might not look so trustworthy when offered in the same web shop as “Wine Explorer, discover uniquely tailored wine recommendations!”.

The accuracy of the products offered by Helix remains unclear. But the concept does make us stop and question the seriousness of DNA and genetic data. Because if your genetic information falls into the wrong hands, consequences may not be as fun as receiving your unique DNA scarf.

Source: MIT Technology Review. Image: Helix DNA Scarf

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1 comment

Posted 23/01/2018 – 14:00

I've downloaded the helix app store and It's working fine.

What is your view on the coronavirus?

Siri Beerends: I really embrace the idea that viruses can teach us a lesson in modesty. It is necessary that our position as the dominant species on the planet is being challenged. I also agree that it is a mistake to think that we are becoming Gods. But unfortunately, this is actually what is happening now. Corona doesn’t teach us to be modest, it teaches us how we can -as quickly as possible- go back to business as usual: saving our capitalistic economy.

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