This morning, Genomes Unzipped launched phase 2 of their website: a dive into the analysis of personal genomics. Today, this began with release of their personal (23andme and Counsyl) genetic data, as well as a snazzy-looking genome browser targeted to personal genetic data. While playing with the site, the same lesson dawned on me that I’ve noticed a number of times before (especially during the Personalized Medicine course): personal genomes are so much more interesting when they are personal. Tools like the genome browser (and their forthcoming analysis code) are instantly more useful, entertaining, and (most importantly) educational/illuminating when exploring ones own genotype data.
On top of this, ensuring open access of data, along with openness of genome research projects, is essential to progress. While consent issues are, of course, extremely important, addition of any phenotype information is crucial to the success of genetic discovery programs: one can only imagine how this would have made the already-powerful 1000 Genomes Project even more powerful. Genome-wide trait-wide association studies, based on open communal analyses, have the potential to transform the landscape of genetics and heritability. So hats off to Daniel MacArthur, Luke Jostins, and the whole Genomes Unzipped team for getting this project moving. I look forward to seeing what seeing comes out of the data and the experience in general.