I recently wrote about the inevitability that you will soon be able to get your whole genome sequenced at $100, you already can get your exome – a genomic technique for sequencing all of the protein-coding genes in a genome (the low hanging fruit) sequenced at that price-point. The actual hardware is also getting cheaper. A handheld sequencing device has already been produced by the trailblazers at Nanopore. Governments are getting in on the act too. In the UK, the Health Secretary has recommended that all children have their DNA sequenced at birth.
But what happens if we extrapolate one level further – to no costs? What about the zero dollar genome sequence?
We have seen many business models move towards ‘free at the functional level’. Many apps have disrupted the way in which we do things. From Spotify for ‘free’ music to mobile apps in the gaming industry’ The model becomes successful when the cost per unit becomes less than that of the extra value options which are sold as ‘add ons’. We imagine a world where people will be actively querying their genome for things we already do, such as ancestry and phenotypic traits (the observable characteristics of an individual based on your genetics), all the way to drug response levels and more nuanced healthcare options.
The difference between sequencing a person’s genome and giving them access to a copy of a game or a song, is that there is a fixed cost with every genomes sequenced. However, your secure sequenced genome itself is inherently an appreciating asset, as medical research will unlock more answers about who you are based on your genomes over time. The unknown unknowns about your genomes continue to be unravelled, as the field of epigenetics (the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself) has already proven. The more information there is about your genome, the more opportunities you will have to query and benefit from it. If each new revelation comes with a small price tag in the way that buying extra lives on Angry Birds does, covering the cost of initial sequencing rapidly becomes a reality.
One other alternative is a subsidised model. As mentioned above, governments could be saving vast sums of money, particularly in tax funded healthcare systems like the UK – if everyone had access to their own genome and could provide access to medical professionals throughout their life. We envision a world where secure human genome sequencing happens at the start of life, as part of a newborn baby’s health checks. Whether this is paid for by a government, an insurance company or provided at no cost by our team at Genomes.io becomes trivial. The profound impact on the future of personalised medicine and healthcare however, cannot be overstated.
Genomes is exploring both of these options as part of our business growth plan. Each transaction of transfer of value through the genome interfaces we provide will require the use of GENE tokens, thus pushing up scarcity levels and making GENE tokens more valuable. This means that those who help out the Genomes.io platform in the early days, through the ICO will be very well rewarded.
We feel that these two ideas can come together nicely if we abstract this concept one level further. That is why we will be offering early investors in the Genomes pre-ICO the exclusive option to have their genome sequenced in a private and secure manner as our way of saying thanks. By building the most secure infrastructure with the most interesting query panels, we believe that the value we will be providing to humanity, is in the querying of the genome.
We believe that we can lead the way in technology, so that having your genome securely sequenced becomes a human right and not a medical opportunity that is only afforded by the rich. This also could contribute to solving one of the major challenges in genomics, diversity and underserved populations.
Help us get there by joining the conversation on telegram, or getting in touch at email@example.com for early investment options.