Gencove was an instrumental company that gave me the opportunity to have a second use of my genetic data. I was able to derive even more information from the data. The apps they provided were so useful. All the web apps were available for free. While the web apps available were not so extensive, they were helpful for research purposes. It will be interesting to see Genove expand and become more comprehensive with a broader range of web apps.
Gеnсоvе аllоwеd mе tо upload mу dаtа frоm a rаngе оf ѕоurсеѕ, аnd аlѕо gаvе the option to purchase оnе оf thеir DNA tеѕting kitѕ, for a соmреtitivеlу low рriсе. Onе оf the dоwnѕidеѕ tо this was thаt nоt all оf thе web аррѕ аnd fеаturеѕ were available tо mе, ѕinсе I chose tо upload my data. Still, for a frее service, Gencove’s mаrkеtрlасе рrоvidеѕ several interesting орtiоnѕ fоr anyone lооking to rеuѕе their data.
Gencove is a product of three famous scientists that worked with the NY Genome Center. The founders are Tomaz Berisa, Joe Pickrell and Kaja Wasik. The aim they have with Gencove is to be able to build genome applications that will simplify and enhance the genome sequencing process. The apps will achieve this process through their efficiency to analyze data to find genetic variants. These genetic variants will be the foundation of future genetic tests.
Gencove had an interactive site with an excellent interface. It was interesting going through the website. There was a web app: “Explore your ancestry” that included a demonstration of the sitemap. This demo displays the region where Gencove covers across the globe. For each region, you can see the populations that they reference. This app allows you to zoom in on the countries in each region and the population within each country.
After this, I was shown a preview of the web apps that were available. These web apps were available for use immediately after sign up. Many of the apps were made by Gencove while some of them were made by Gencove associates. What would end up being my favorite app (How happy are you?) was one of the apps made by the Gencove associates. It was made by the USC Behavioral and Health Genomics center. Gencove made it possible to choose between the web version of the website or to download the app for mobile.
There is a section that is dedicated to giving you a brief guide on how Gencove’s website works. They named it “How does it work.” There I learned that there are three stages when using GEncove. The first stage is where you are required to input genetic data from other sources or order for a DNA test kit from them. The second stage is where you use the web apps either on web or mobile for research. The final stage is where you keep track of your activity and keep your data safe in their storage.
The homepage also has a FAQs section. This section provided answers to some basic and common questions asked by users. For example, to the question “how long does it take to process data uploaded to the site,” the answer is “30 minutes”. If there will be a fresh DNA test, that will take between six to ten weeks. It was in the FAQs section that I also discovered that every data uploaded will be made accessible to me thereafter. I also learned that they do not send their DNA test kit outside of the United States. People outside of the US can only make use of the “upload data” option.
Thеrе wаѕ also a link to thе Privасу Pоliсу, in whiсh I fоund оut thаt Gencove wоuld соllесt аnd ѕtоrе mу nаmе, еmаil аddrеѕѕ, and раѕѕwоrd, mу responses to questions аnd ԛuizzеѕ аbоut mу personal рrеfеrеnсеѕ аnd hаbitѕ, mу gеnоmiс infоrmаtiоn, аnd аnу other personal infоrmаtiоn I might provide. If I chose tо participate in their rеѕеаrсh study, then this dаtа соuld bе uѕеd fоr research. I wаѕ рlеаѕеd tо rеаd thаt thеу wоuld not раѕѕ on mу infоrmаtiоn tо third раrtiеѕ, еxсерt tо рrоvidе mе with the ѕеrviсе аnd tо comply with thе law.
Placing an order on the Gencove website is a seamless process. There was a choice to either upload genetic data from other platforms or to directly buy the DNA test kit from their website. Gencove’s DNA test kits are very cheap and affordable for all sorts of people. I decided to make use of the option of uploading data from other sources. I uploaded data from the DNA test I did with 23andme.
To do this, I had to first open an account with them. With just my email address, my first name and a password, I was able to create an account. I just accepted the terms and conditions without reading them, and I was good to go. The account was created successfully.
My free account was created instantly. Once the account was created, I accessed eleven web apps that had unique functionality. The app I loved most was captioned “How Happy are you.” The web app can predict the tendency that a person will be happy just by their genetics. Other apps were there that I found interesting. The “My Genome” app was useful for analyzing genomic data while the “Relative radar” app was good for exploring other people with similar genetic makeup.
I received a message on my email from Gencove. It was a message asking me to verify my membership. I confirmed my membership and was ready to upload my data to the site
When I attempted to upload my data, I was introduced to a page where I could read more about Gencove research. The page was optional and could be skipped to get to the main thing- uploading my genetic data.
The Gencove research was a study they were conducting to analyze genetic variants that exercise massive influence on personal features and increase the possibility of having some diseases. But this study was only available to those who will order the DNA test kit rather than people who will merely upload data from other sources. The information collected from the study will be stored and used for further research. Though such information will be protected. The name and identity of the research population will not be made public to third parties. Also, there was an option to opt out of the research at any time. All these were contained in the Gencove “consent document” which could only be filled by adults( 18+)
Skipping this page, you get to the page where you can upload your genetic data. There was an option to upload information from my personal computer. I decided to upload the genetic data I got from 23andme. The file I uploaded was in the .zip format. The whole uploading took about fifteen minutes. I tracked the progress of the upload from the site’s homepage.
I received a mail to confirm the successful upload of my data to the site. As a result of the successful upload, I had access to the web apps that I talked about above. Immediately I decided to explore my favorite app: “How happy are you?” The app was created by one of the Gencove associates: the USC Behavioral and Health Genomics Center
Rеѕultѕ Section: ‘Hоw Hарру Are Yоu?’ – Preliminaries tо Happiness
I decided to try out my favorite app. After clicking on the icon, “How happy are you?”, I was asked to first give the authorization for the maker of the app: USC Behavioral and Health Genomics center to have access to my genetic data. Gencove also informed that as part of the requirements to use the app, they would fill in some gaps in my genome. Though I didn’t understand fully, there was a link to a Wikipedia article for clarification. After then, I clicked on the “continue icon”. Immediately, I got an email from Gencove to confirm that I have registered for the app
After then, I saw the steps I had to take to use the app. First, I needed to answer certain questions that will be important to determine how happy I am regarding genetics. Second, there were comparison charts that showed how my answers compared to the answers of the general populace. Third and last, I would get the result which shows what my genetics says about my happiness.
But before I got started, I needed to complete the Consent form. The consent form was a way of giving USC behavioral and health Genomics center the right to use my data for research purpose. The research was meant ti help the Genomics center to spot more correlations between genetics and behavior and to see how people react when they come to the knowledge of their genetic information. There was a usual assurance that all my information will be confidential and will not be shared with third parties without my consent. I could also opt out of the research at any time.
Rеѕultѕ Sесtiоn: ‘Hоw Hарру Arе Yоu?’ Web App
After this, I was prompted to answer specific questions about my happiness. The questions totaled thirteen (13). Age and marital status were included.
I answered all the questions. I got a response immediately. From the analysis done by the web app, my happiness level was tagged: moderately happy. Not bad news, since half of the population fall into this same category.
With that result, I was in the lowest third of the happiness scale. People here have a low level of confidence. Initially, I was dumbfounded. But according to the explanation, other factors like environment and patterns of life choices would have a significant effect on people’s happiness. Therefore, my “genetic happiness” need not define my “real happiness.”
When I was done with my favorite app, I decided to go through some of the other apps. I was interested in the “Explore your ancestry” app. When I clicked on it, I got to a map that gave me a view of the origin of my ancestors.
Based on my genetic information, may ancestral mix was divided into varied percentages. On the map, I realized that 87% of my DNA was accounted for by ancestors from Northern and Central Europe. There was also an option to take a closer look and notice the populations that came from Northern and Central Europe.
I was not fully satisfied though. I felt that Northern and Central Europe was too wide and that the information, after all, is not so useful. Was it Switzerland or Belgium or the Czech Republic”? The man did not indicate
The web apps also had a section called “Friends.” This was a section where I could see the people I have connected with while using Gencove. There were two “placeholder” friends already.
For those who had sent their saliva through the DNA test kit, there was other fun stuff. Under the Marketplace, there was an icon called “microbiome”. On this page, you will get to know all the bacteria and viruses that are in your mouth. The marketplace also had other apps you could use to search for your relatives and friends and connect with them.
There was also a link where I could download the genome data I uploaded. While surfing through, I also found an icon that linked to “Geneplaza.” I found out that the Geneplaza was entirely different and required me to register an account and upload my genetic data again. I saw some other links that made data sharing possible. I could share my data with other humans or with what was called “YouGenomicsIndia.”
Lооking at ‘My Gеnоmе,’ I found I соuld аlѕо ѕее which wеb аррѕ hаd ассеѕѕ to my data, and соuld choose tо diѕсоnnесt thеm if I wiѕhеd (shown below).
On my profile, I was able to see the web apps that are having access to my genetic data. There was an option to stop any web app from having access to my data.
As stated before, Gencove provided a unique opportunity to use my genetic data for other purposes and derive quality information from it. The web apps offered were free and useful. Though not expensive, they offered quality research opportunity. I hope that the apps will have a broader scope in the future. Also, I could not use all the available apps because I was on a free service. Overall, it was a good enough experience with no money spent.
A feature I liked about Gencove was the opportunity to upload my genetic data from other platforms. Even if I choose not to upload data, the DNA test kit they provided was so affordable. The Gencove platform has been a unique experience. I highly recommend.