Apple is collaborating with US researchers to launch apps that would allow iPhone owners to get their DNA tested, according to a new report from MIT’s Technology Review. The apps are based on ResearchKit, a software platform Apple introduced in March that helps researchers gather data.
If true, Apple would join a growing battle for genetic information. Everyone from Google, to the government, to top universities are spending millions of dollars to amass large databases of DNA info in an effort to uncover clues that would help identify causes and possible cures for diseases.
MIT says that in two initial studies, Apple isn’t going to directly collect or test DNA itself, but will instead leave that up to academic partners. The end game is to enable individuals to share DNA information with different recipients, including researchers, as easily as they can their location.
Apple began taking a serious interest in health when it launched iOS 7 in 2013 with a standalone Health app. It has since built on that foundation with ResearchKit, which is already making a significant impact on medical research, and the launch of its activity and fitness-tracking Apple Watch.
The report claims Apple wants its DNA apps ready in time to show off at WWDC next month.
Source: Technology Review