Emily Singer has a fantastic article in MIT’s Technology Review reviewing the current state of play in human genomics. A curious highlight for me was this panel of mug-shots from the PGP-10, the 10 high-profile volunteers currently having their genomes sequenced as part of the Personal Genome Project:
Top row from left: Misha Angrist, Keith Batchelder, George Church, Esther Dyson, Rosalynn Gill.
Bottom row from left: John Halamka, Stanley Lapidus, Kirk Maxey, Steven Pinker, James Sherley.
Links for each participant are to their profile on the PGP website, which includes information on medical histories and (for some participants) very preliminary DNA sequencing data (the tape on some of the subject’s foreheads is to allow for analysis of facial morphology). For those who are unfamiliar with the PGP’s mission, these 10 brave individuals have basically committed to the free publication of their medical and genetic information (including, eventually, their entire genome sequences) online – in the hope that it will encourage an open, frank discussion of the promises and challenges of the upcoming era of personalised medicine.
These photos have been available on the PGP website for a while, but there’s something about seeing all of them together in a mainstream news article that emphasises just how bold a step the PGP-10 have taken in agreeing to publish their personal data online.
If you’re interested in more details on the PGP you should read Thomas Goetz’s recent piece in Wired, and both Misha Angrist and John Halamka have personal blogs worth following. If you think you’ve got what it takes to reveal your medical and genetic secrets online for the good of society you could also consider registering as a volunteer for the next phase of the Project (just make sure you read the disclaimer first).