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Information wants to be free, says the old internet meme, and a genomics company will now apply that to DNA: Starting on Thursday, the startup Nebula Genomics is giving customers the option of having their full genome sequenced at no cost, a first for direct-to-consumer genetics.

There is, naturally, an itsy-bitsy little catch. Customers will have to answer a handful of questions about their health and other traits — from whether they have ever been diagnosed with cancer to their history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other common ills to what medications they take, how physically active they are, and whether they smoke — in order to earn credits toward free sequencing. Answering the questions will earn enough credits, or “tokens” as the company calls them, to score free DNA sequencing.

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  • You can use the link https://portal.nebula.org/invite/accept/6d3a2d24eb
    Full disclosure: If you use this referral link, I’ll get “points” that I can donate to rare disease research. If you don’t want that to happen, you could just go to nebula.org.

    By the way, I think the professor who started this is a genius and a humanitarian. Finally, consumers are being empowered, and genetic disease research can make real progress.

    • A paid Marketer Troll weighs in! No one is being “Empowered” here but your bank account and a few marketers with another deceptive gimmick. I am hoping the FTC will do it’s jobs and start regulating this form of deceptive misleading marketing. There used be Laws about deceptive marketing and health claims, and the Internet has allowed this kind of targeted marketing, of desperate sick people, and gullible people who think that venture capitalists, and creepy data peddlers, have their interest at heart.

      Some sites used to have monitors that removed this kind of pathetic selling and product endorsment.

  • People need to be very careful, since was have already seen how these companies exploit the data, and mislead their clients. Our government has failed to regualte these kinds of companies, and they have refused to enforce the laws or what is left of them. We have seen time and time again these deceptive gimmicky companies either sell the data for nefarious purposes or use it to mislead patients and sick people. Until we have firm rules in place and a government willing to enforce the laws, there is no guarantee whatsoever, anyone’s privacy is secure.
    It looks like a lot of media outlets failed to cover the debacle with Facebook, and how they deceived the public and mounted a sick Psi Ops campaign on their detractors. None of these so called Healthcare Journalists have even looked at how they used patient groups to market products with deceptive and misdealing advertising, to vulnerable sick people. It looks like the marketing is off limits, we can no longer expect the FTC to enforce the laws.

  • I’d exercise caution about All of Us. None of their materials informs prospective applicants that, by receiving genetic results, they could be subject to legal discrimination when applying for life insurance or long-term-care insurance, and even health insurance if they work for a small employer. They claim privately that there will be a second round of consent for people who want their genetic data, at which point they will inform them of these risks.

    Wouldn’t the ethical approach be to inform people of this arrangement and these risks now? I know one person who signed up and expected to receive his genetic data in short order. He’s a PhD scientist who works in the field, and he had no clue about all this.

  • I am worried insurance companies and such plus government agencies will eventually get the full ID and data. There is no way to guarantee the Gov wont change its mind about unlawful search and seizure.

  • I signed up. The free sequencing requires 1000 credits but if you give them your whole history you only earn 550 credits. WTF!

    • It’s worse than that. I earned 200 credits, but after I completed another four surveys, I wasn’t given any additional credits. I’m still showing 200 credits for my balance! That’s beside the 50 credits that I was told I would get when I first registered.

      Supposedly, we would get 100 credits for every person who registers using our link. I haven’t tested that, yet.

  • Tell us your health conditions and give us your DNA for free so we can sell it for profits!
    — Dumbest thing you can do with your DNA
    IMHO all DTC genetics are for dummies. Your genomics information is worth much more than your SSN. Keep it safe.

    • Shaun – a bit paranoid ? And a bit ignorant. Analysis of computerized health data is reaping huge rewards for health care researchers. Analysis of genetic data will be of even greater benefit to medical research and ultimately all of us. Protect your DNA? That’s ridiculous. Everything you do leaves a DNA trail free for the taking if someone really wants it. I know…. the big bad liberal government is out to get Shaun and is actively pursuing his DNA. Make sure you thoroughly wash your tin foil hat in bleach every day lest you leave some traces of your DNA on it.

    • I appreciate knowing my options, but the snark in me has to say that instead of worrying about the government potentially forcing a private company to give up your data, you go straight to the source!

  • In your article, no information was provided to enable one to sign up for genome sequencing.

    Thanks,

    Lar.

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