The National Institutes of Health is planning to enroll 1 million people for a database of genetics, lifestyles, and environmental conditions relating to health. The agency’s “All of Us” program, which will open for volunteer signup on Sunday (May 6), will provide an important tool in the development of treatment and prevention strategies for various diseases, health officials say. The project has secured $1.45 billion in funding for the next decade, and has already enrolled 25,000 participants as part of a pilot run last year. People will first share electronic health records, blood samples, and information about their lifestyles. Later in the year, researchers will start administering tests for particular genetic variants that may be related to disease risk. While no database is 100 percent secure, the data will be carefully protected, the project’s director, Eric Dishman, explains. The agency has invited hackers to try to breach the database, he adds, as a way to better develop privacy measures. However, lawyer Tiffany Li of Yale Law School expresses skepticism that the data could be shielded from access by law enforcement in all cases. “I would argue that there probably is some way to access the data,”.
I think this is so cool it is really amazing to be alive at a time when genetics is becoming so widespread. This should really have wide reaching implications if done correctly and provide tons of data on both genetics as well as different lifestyle choices and how they affect us. I think the scope of this is just a start to I'm sure more and more people will continue to do this after the one million target has time to be situated. However, the security of this data is beyond important, sadly it is a concern that insurance companies could get their hands on it. Lets just hope for universal health care before thats a concern but thats a topic for a different type of discussion.