Social Networking for Your Chromosones!

Sure, you can join Facebook, you can put up a MySpace page, you can follow your friends on Twitter.  You can pick your friends based on mutual interests or, gasp, actual friendship.  I just joined a new social network today called “InSocialMedia.”

But you know what’s been missing (until now), don’t you? I mean, you feel it deep down.  Really deep down. Like, in your DNA.

What if I could join a social network based on aligning myself with folks that have similar DNA?  Now that would be something.  Imagine the wall posts: “Hey, you’ve got the same congenital disorder of glycosylation type Id (CDG-Id)! Do you think that’s caused by homozygous mutation in the ALG3 gene, you know, a de novo mutation in combination with a segmental maternal uniparental isodisomy? Mine sure is!”

Yes, that giggly opportunity is now a reality if you join 23andMeMIT Technology Review covers the social networking for the genome opportunity. All you have to do is fork over $999 for the genetic test and, poof, they throw in the social networking tools free!  (Wait, social networking tools are usually free anyway… But I digress.)

While I make fun of it (because, well, it’s mostly dumb), I do see one potentially serious and very helpful application of this.  People with genetic markers for certain serious diseases could find each other and share relevant science.  That could be helpful.  But I imagine that would take a lot of $999 investments to get to scale where that would really help.  And that would mostly benefit 23andMe.

Tip of the hat to Bolaji Oyejide for pointing it out to me.

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