The Personal Genome Project has grown from having 10 participants in 2005 to now having more than 3,360 enrolled participants and more than 600 of them have had their data posted online, the New York Times writes.
The PGP aims to find 100,000 people to volunteer as research subjects whose data — spanning genetic, microbiome, health record, and other data types — will be made publicly available.
"We're prototyping a legal and technical infrastructure for sharing data," Jason Bobe, the executive director of the project, tells the Times. Because of the broad consent the participants give for the use and dissemination of their information, the paper notes that they must pass an entrance exam to become part of the project.
Having such a vast quantity of data may enable researchers to ask new sorts of questions. For instance, the Times notes that Abigail Wark, a postdoc at Harvard Medical School is drawing on PGP data to study variation in the human areola,
"[I]nstead of asking single-trait, single-gene questions, we can say, 'Let's look at everything we can collect about breast biology,'" she says.
"We're casting a big net," she adds. "There's so little known about these questions that we're not in a place to target highly specific investigations."