Apple may use ResearchKit for DNA collection in medical studies
08 May 2015
While iPhones can track a huge variety of data from users' everyday life, from pulse rate to body temperature, Apple is looking information of a different type from its users - DNA.
While Apple planned to release apps, using its new ResearchKit developer tools, to allow hospitals and research teams conduct clinical trials and other medical research from their iPhones, genetic testing was only a piece of that puzzle.
Users who want to join Apple's latest genetic studies, would only need to spit in a cup, and send the saliva to an Apple-approved lab for advanced genetic sequencing.
According to a source, Apple's end goal was to "enable the individual to show and share" genetic data with various researching entities.
The first Research Kit app is mPower, designed to log a users' Parkinson's symptoms relaying the information back to scientists for analysis.
The first week had seen thousands of people sign up.
Though collecting DNA seemed like a big departure from the company's traditional prosucts, it was really just a step in the evolution of Apple's ResearchKit tools from its HealthKit.
IBM and Apple paired up earlier this week as Apple incorporated supercomputer Watson into its HealthKit and ResearchKit developer tools. The exercise aims to speed up the analysis of the masses of data from clinical trials.
The popularity of the iPhone contributed in no small way to the success of the ResearchKit. Only a few days after it launched, Stanford University was able to get nearly 11,000 subjects for a cardiovascular study in just a day, which pointed to immense reach of Apple's newly-launched platform.
With ResearchKit getting a huge response, scientists say the next step would be the collection of DNA.
Apple, however, would not test or collect data in the initial studies as the same would be done by its academic partners and though scientists may maintain the information in a cloud, some data might be available to iPhone users directly on their smartphone.
Over a period of time, a probability existed that users might be able to share details on their genes just as they did with their location now.