The Personal Genome Project, an initiative founded by George Church that ultimately seeks to sequence the complete genomes of 100,000 people, has called for the next wave of volunteers. The PGP will sequence your genome and give you back the data for the bargain-basement price of zero dollars (not bad compared to the $68,000 that the Knome auction is starting at).
The benefits to volunteers are straightforward: you get access to your own genome sequence before most human beings on the planet, and you get the warm fuzzy glow that comes with benefiting humanity. I’m not being at all sarcastic about the latter benefit. The PGP is an audacious experiment in overcoming both the technological and social challenges of providing access to large-scale genetic information, and whatever progress it makes will have a very real impact on the future of human genomics.
Thus far 10 brave volunteers (the PGP-10) have agreed to have their genetic and health data splashed onto the web; two of these intrepid souls, Misha Angrist and John Halamka, have blogs that you can follow. The PGP aims to recruit a further 100 volunteers in the next wave, followed by a further 1,000, and so on until the 100,000-recruit target is reached.
Volunteering to participate is not simply a matter of filling in a few forms: the PGP takes the notion of “informed consent” to a new level, requiring that you prove just how informed you are by taking an entrance test that assesses your “comprehension of concepts relevant to providing informed consent to
participate in the PGP” including “concepts such as
potential risks of participating, project protocols, and basic genetics”.
To register for updates on how you can participate in the PGP fill in this form.