Google and Your Genes
Google’s relationship with your genome has been cause for hopeful speculation. The final chapter of Vise’s and Malseed’s new book on Google throws a little light on the matter:
One of the most exciting Google projects involves biological and genetic research that could foster important medical and scientific breakthroughs. Through this effort, Google may help accelerate the era of personalized medicine…
…Over dinner and plenty of wine in February 2005, Sergey Brin discussed the prospects for genetics and Google with the maverick biologist Dr. Craig Venter…Also at the table was Ryan Phelan, chief executive officer of DNA Direct [editor: and my boss], one of the foremost Internet companies providing individuals with genetic testing and counseling…Not long after the dinner in California, Brin and Page teamed up with Venter…[who is quoted as saying:] "Working with Google, we are trying to generate a gene catalogue to characterize all the genes on the planet and understand their evolutionary development. Geneticists have wanted to do this for generations." Over time, Venter said, Google will build up a genetic database, analyze it, and find meaningful correlations for individuals and populations.
Also last week, Google Base was unveiled. Pedro Beltrao (blog) has tested the waters with a little sequence data (nucleic and protein) and a discussion. Are the database that Venter refers to above and Google Base one and the same?
David Vise & Mark Malseed. The Google Story Delacorte Press, 2005.