Human sequencing pioneer George Church wants to give you the power to sell your DNA on the blockchain

The blockchain is the buzziest thing on the internet these days and now MIT professor and godfather of the Human Genome Project George Church wants to put your genes on it.

His new startup Nebula Genomics plans to sequence your genome for less than $1,000 (the current going rate of whole genome sequencing) and then add your data to the blockchain through the purchase of a “Nebula Token.”

The idea sounds outlandish, but Church and his colleagues laid out in a recently released white paper that this will put the genomic power in the hands of the consumer, as opposed to companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, which own your genomic data after you take that spit tube test.

These companies sell that data in large swaths to pharmaceutical and research companies, often for millions of dollars. However, using the blockchain, consumers can choose to sell their own data directly.

Many people have yet to sequence their data, mostly due to cost or privacy concerns, but with the option to then sell that data to drug companies, possibly discover cures for rare diseases and make a buck while doing it could sweeten the incentive to sequence.

Those buying up tokens and sequencing their DNA through Nebula don’t have to sell it for money, of course, and Nebula says they can still discover insights about their own genetics through the company app without sharing it elsewhere, if they desire.

However, all bought and sold data will be recorded on the blockchain, which is a technology allowing for the recording of all transactions using a key code known only to the person who holds the information.

Will people go for this new proposition to buy a token, sequence their own data and then sell it directly? Nebula is too new to tell right now — it hasn’t even announced when or if it will hold a token sale. The tokens also might not accumulate in value like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, as they are only redeemable for an individual’s DNA data, which the company has said it will do in partnership with Veritas Genetics, a company Church also co-founded…

Read Full: Human sequencing pioneer George Church wants to give you the power to sell your DNA on the blockchain