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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Posted 23/01/2018 – 14:00

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

Should men be able to give birth to children?

Joyce Nabuurs: To me this question seems to be a logical next step in the emancipation movement of the past century. More and more women entered the workspace, but the responsibility for pregnancy and childrearing remained female.

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