The start-up EDNA aims to provide more people access to the global DNA market through blockchain technology. Together with Singapore-based financial services provider WORBLI, the company is developing an app that will securely register human genetic material for EOSIO blockchains and at the same time provide users with fair compensation through smart contracts. In the course of intensive genetic research, the human DNA market is currently booming. However, DNA donors often receive only a fraction of the market value for their genetic material.
As for blood or plasma donations, a vibrant market for human DNA has developed in recent years. More and more people are sequencing their genetic material at institutes and laboratories to make it available to scientists for their research. Most often the donors are looking for financial compensation. However, they often only get a fraction of the sum that is paid for their DNA on the market.
Fair compensation thanks to EOSIO blockchain
This is what the start-up EDNA wants to change. Together with the Singapore-based financial services provider WORBLI, the company has set itself the goal of making the trade of your own genetic material more attractive. Both announced this on Wednesday, July 17, in a joint press release.
Hand in hand, the companies want to launch an app that allows donors to receive “fair compensation” for their contribution to genetic research. Blockchain technology, in turn, should ensure the necessary safety of the genome and the donor data.
The service follows a recipe that seems simple at first glance. Using the app, donors will be able to read their genetic data, which they received during a laboratory examination. The app then registers the information which is then encrypted and secure on EOSIO blockchains. Via Smart Contracts users are going to receive control to which research institutes and organizations their genetic material is passed on. At the same time, the smart contracts will automatically provide a corresponding remuneration.
In order to make more and more people provide their data for research purposes, the service also wants to connect investors from the gene market with potential donors. Through the app, they will be able to provide the necessary money for the registering of the DNA and thus open the gene market for the biggest possible audience:
We are very excited to be powering a project of this magnitude, one that can impact and benefit millions of people around the world. EDNA is at the cutting edge of this industry and seeks to be a major player in what will be a billion dollar market in the future.
says WORBLI CEO Dominic Thomas. With the trade of this kind of data, he sees a potential billion-dollar business for the future.
Big leaps in genetic research
Where does human come from and what makes humans human? Despite decades of research, our genes still hold great secrets. Even after 50 years since DNA was discovered, researchers understand our genetic material only on the surface level. Susceptibility to disease, human intelligence and lifetime – all of this is anchored in the double helix of our DNA. In order to understand this heredity, scientists today do more research than ever on human genetic material.
At the same time, scientists are doing ever-larger leaps and also reach moral limits. Just last year, for example, the Chinese physician He Jiankui had made worldwide headlines. He had changed the genome of human embryos so that they formed a resistance to the HI virus.
Other researchers hope to create a completely new human race using genetic interventions. Genetic research is intended to help strengthen intelligence and memory and thus extend the lifespan. Researchers at London University College, in turn, hope to use DNA to grow human replacement organs in the lab.
The success of all these advances will depend on the availability and affordability of the human genome.