All you have to do is spit into a tube and send it to the lab. The project is part of an initiative by a group called Genes for Good.
Scientists there hope to keep up with as many as 20,000 people through periodic checks of their mood, health, and habits. "We're really hoping that the main reason people will join is to say, 'Hey, my health and genetic information is valuable," Michigan professor Gonçalo Abecasis told BuzzFeed News. "Hopefully that will be the major motivator."
Abecasis says Facebook will only act as a gathering source and won’t have access to any personal information.
Many believe the work can make real impact but not everyone is excited about the idea. "Some people are going to freak out about this," Michelle Meyer told BuzzFeed. "DNA and Facebook are two words that most people do not want to hear in the same sentence."
Abecasis didn’t make any promises about security saying, “none of these things are completely risk-free in that sense.”
Meyer and others are concerned people could misinterpret the information, causing unneeded stress. She also thinks the work may cross a boundary. "They're clearly trying to harness people's familiarity with and enjoyment of social media," she stated. "I mostly think this is OK, but research as entertainment is a bit of a new paradigm."
Abecasis understands the concern but believes the end result may be worth it, saying, “I’m of the belief that the more widely you can make data available, the more quickly advances will come around.”
Would you sign up?