The upstart direct-to-consumer DNA-testing company Nebula Genomics announced on Thursday that it will offer anonymous genome sequencing, becoming the first to do so amid public concerns about the privacy of genetic data and law enforcement use of public DNA databases to identify suspects.
Customers will be able to purchase Nebula’s whole-genome sequencing “without sharing their name, address, or credit card information,” said Nebula co-founder and chief scientific officer Dennis Grishin.
The technology exists to do that, he and the company’s other co-founders — Harvard University biologist George Church and Kamal Obbad — explain in a paper in Nature Biotechnology, published on Thursday. To pay for testing, customers would use a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin or a prepaid credit or debit card. They would use a nameless P.O. box to receive the sample collection kit. To access results, customers would create an email address not traceable to them (Nebula recommends ProtonMail).