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Sequence and Scan for Health

J. Craig Venter's new Health Nucleus venture, part of his Human Longevity company, aims to provide customers with all sorts of data about themselves, Carl Zimmer writes at Stat.

For $25,000, Venter's team will sequence customers' genome and microbiomes, scan their brains and bodies, and analyze their blood. Based on the results, the customers receive a customized iPad app to sift through all that data. And, Zimmer adds, researchers can use this information to develop "a personalized care plan."

"We're trying to show the value of actual scientific data that can change people's lives," Venter tells Zimmer. "Our goal is to interpret everything in the genome that we can."

But, whether all this data will actually contain useful nuggets is unclear. While Harvard Medical School's Robert Green calls it "a fantastically visionary plan," he also says that data that appears at first "to be medically relevant information could be helpful, could be confusing, or could actually be harmful."

Still, Venter argues that learning about their genome and other medical data will enable patients to stay on top of their health. He notes that from his own genome sequence, he learned about his increased risk for melanoma, which he says enabled him to notice a growth early and have it treated.