Unfulfilled with having conquered the computer, phone, portable music player, and watch industries, Apple is now eyeing genetic testing, according to the MIT Technology Review.
It reports the world's most valuable company, based on market capitalization, is collaborating with researcher on apps that would let some iPhone owners have their DNA tested. The apps are based on the company's ResearchKit software platform launched in March that helps hospitals and scientists run medical studies on iPhones by collecting data from the phones' sensors or through surveys.
Apple already has a health apple called Health, which runs on the company's most recent version of the iOS operating system. MIT Technology Review reports that Apple is now "closely involved" in two studies that will collect DNA. One study is being led by the University of California, San Francisco, while the other is headed by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
The studies would look at a panel of 100 or fewer disease genes, not a person's entire genome, and would be approved by Apple, as well as an institutional review board. Apple would not collect or conduct the DNA testing itself. Instead, UCSF and Mount Sinai would do both. The data would be also kept on a computing cloud maintained by scientists, though some of the results could also appear on a consumer's iPhone, and users could "swipe to share 'my genes' as easily as they do their location," MIT Technology Review says.
If it follows through on the supposed plans, Apple would join other big technology firms such as Google and IBM that are building businesses in the genetics space. But Gholson Lyon, a geneticist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory wonders whether consumers are even interested in DNA testing.
"In 10 years it could be incredibly significant," he says. "But the question is, do they have a killer app to interact with their (DNA) quickly and easily."