The human genome may be the next big API to hit the market

dna nanomachines dna1
Kentoh/Shutterstock
Manipulating the human genome, at least on a large scale, still exists primarily in the realm of science fiction. But soon, scientists may develop an API for our genetic code, making interactions with our DNA faster, easier, and more robust.

In recent months, there has been a concerted impetus from the tech community to partner with researchers and scientists, combining software and hardware innovations with the more specialized know-how of medical professionals. There was the announcement in May regarding Apple’s partnership with American researchers to “help launch apps that would offer some iPhone owners the chance to get their DNA tested,” and the more recent activation of the Google Genomics Lab and Broad Institute partnership to combine the processing power of the Google cloud with the expertise of Harvard and MIT researchers.

All these developments, BaseHealth CEO Prakash Menon says, is part of what he calls the “third wave” of genomics, “focused on integrating genomic data with other types of data.” The first wave came about with the early 1990s debut of the Human Genome Project, soon followed by the second wave, categorized by the leveraging of “fast, cheap genome-sequencing technology for disease treatment and therapy.”

But now, Menon believes, we are in the process of discovering “a wide variety of health and well-being apps and platforms will be able to do things like connect variants to environmental, lifestyle, dietary, and activity related factors, guiding both sick and healthy people towards a fundamentally better quality of life.”

And as exciting as all this is, it’s the next wave, the fourth wave, that Menon is particularly excited about. The continued exploration and subsequent understanding of human biology, coupled with advances in technology will almost inevitably lead to a genomic API. As Menon says, “If genome sequencing is fast and cheap, analysis and interpretation are accurate, and genomic data is put into a wider context so that we can leverage insights in daily practice, many new things quickly become possible.” A few of the potential applications he notes in a guest post for VentureBeat include:

  • Pharmacy support systems that integrate with your genome to ensure that prescription drugs are ideal for the subject, maximizing efficacy and reducing side effects
  • Organ and/or bone marrow donor matching application that uses the genome to make the process of matching more streamlined and efficient
  • An athletic training application that uses genetic information to adjust routines, rest periods, supplements, and diet

“I can even imagine,” Menon writes, “a world in which online role playing/MMO games use a genomic API to build worlds around each player that reference his or her molecular reality.” The possibilities are endless, and we’re just now starting to realize our full potential — welcome to the future.

Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.