Do third-party genetic analysis tools interpret data, or simply “bridge to the literature”?

A variety of third-party genetic interpretation tools are available online that enable users to pursue self-directed analysis of their personal genetic data. Tools can return information about health/wellness, family relatedness, or genetic ancestry. While users may seek out these tools for help interpreting their data, some developers describe tools as providing a “bridge to the Read More…

Data transactions

We browse, therefore we’re data Chances are high you got here from a link on Facebook or Twitter. Or maybe you recently ordered a holiday gift from Amazon. If you’re like me, you use these social media platforms and web services with a hint of resign and possible distaste for the way your data is Read More…

Guest post & a survey!

Guest post I don’t know how to say this, but…I’ve been seeing other blogs!! Just kidding. I mean I’ve started writing on another blog, hosted by the University of Washington Genomics Salon. The Salon brings together a diverse group of students, post-docs, faculty, and community members to discuss issues relevant to science and society. I Read More…

Opening the Tomb

Terra cotta warriors During the last week in August, I attended a special exhibit of the Terra Cotta warriors at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. The warriors are a touring collection of a tiny subset of the vast clay “army” buried over 2,000 years ago, encircling the tomb of China’s first emperor. While the clay soldiers Read More…

Who cares if your genome is ready for prime-time, when it’s available on demand?

On Monday the consumer genomics company Helix launched a “DNA App Store:” a one-stop interpretation shop for your personal genomic information. Commercialization of personal genetic information has been gaining momentum for over a decade, mostly through direct-to-consumer testing companies such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA, but this announcement from Helix seems to represent a phase change. Read More…

The Sophistication of Simplicity

A mentor once passed on to me some exceedingly sage advice about writing: it’s very hard to write when you don’t know what you’re trying to say. So many of my difficulties in academic writing are explained by this obvious but compelling observation. It’s not that I don’t know things, but it’s hard to figure Read More…

Do we “participate” in Facebook?

Lately I’ve been reading, discussing, and thinking about the concept of “participation.” It’s an idea that gets thrown around a lot but without too much examination or critique. Specifically, I am researching theories and frameworks of “participation” as it relates to my dissertation. The question I’m asking is: does giving people access to their own Read More…