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After You, Francis

The US National Institutes of Health plans to open up wider enrollment for its All of Us project this spring, the Associated Press reports.

The project, launched as the Precision Medicine Initiative's Cohort Program, aims to recruit 1 million people to undergo genomic testing while also collecting medical, environmental, socioeconomic, and other data from participants to examine how the various factors interact and influence health. The hope is that all this data can guide personalized medicine.

"The DNA is almost the easiest part," NIH Director Francis Collins tells the AP. "It's challenging to figure out how to put all that together to allow somebody to have a more precise sense of future risk of illness and what they might do about it."

The AP notes the program has been conducting pilot studies with more than 2,500 participants and 50 sites around the country. If those go according to plan, it adds that the agency plans to open it up to anyone in the US who is interested in taking part. The agency is particularly interested in analyzing a diverse population.

Collins himself says he'll be signing up, even though he's had parts of his genome analyzed before.

"We have a chance really to influence history, to influence the future of our children and our children's children," adds Rev. Paul Abernathy, who signed up for one of the pilot studies.