By Bastian Greshake

openSNP is an open-science/data project that aims at making personal genomics data available. Thanks to the rapid bio-technological progress and start-ups like 23andMe, more and more people are getting access to their personal genetic information. In 2015 about 2 (1 + 1) million people already have at least partial access to their own personal genomes. As biology is complex and needs large sample sizes, this wealth of data could be highly useful all over the world, for researchers and citizen scientists alike. If only they could get access to it: For privacy and business reasons alike genetic data is frequently kept under lock and key.

To open up those silos and empower as many people as possible to work with this data, openSNP crowdsources the open data collection by enabling customers to donate their own genetic information into the public domain. At the same time, people can give as detailed annotations about their phenotypes (e.g. eye/hair color, diseases as they wish, and make up new phenotype categories on the fly. Additionally, openSNP mines academic & crowdsourced resources for meta-data about genetic variants. All the data is then easily accessible through the web and different APIs.

So far the data has been used for teaching, research, as well as art and contributed to discussions on bioethics in the age of citizen science.



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Bastian Greshake



Published: 26 Aug, 2015

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