In the fall of 2009 at the first Consumer Genetics Show in Boston, whole genome sequencing company Illumina’s CEO Jay Flatley announced plans to develop an iPhone app, called MyGenome, that would give users access to their own fully sequenced genome.
“Ultimately, we think this data needs to be mobile-connected and probably in the cloud,” Flatley said at the time as he cued a series of slides that showed rough concepts for a Illumina iPhone app. “We think an iPhone type device is where this data will end up living, but clearly we can’t fit an entire sequence on the iPhone of today.”
This week Illumina announced the launch of the MyGenome application for Apple’s iPad. It costs $0.99 and is available for download from the AppStore now. While the application does not include the personal genomic data for its customers yet, the concept is still the same: The app helps users “explore a real human genome and view reports about important genetic variations through a simple, intuitive, and educational interface for genetic data exploration and learning.”
“Illumina’s vision of a future where healthcare is made more precise through the use of genetic information, together with our position as a sequencing technology leader, puts us in an ideal position to stimulate interest in a mainstream tool for genomic exploration,” Flatley stated in this week’s announcement. “The MyGenome app is an exciting educational tool that enables consumers to learn how much we already understand about variation in the human genome, served up in a graphically accessible format. This first version of the app provides a glimpse of what we think could become a clinical tool for use by physicians with their patients to improve understanding and communication of genetic data.”
Illumina said that future versions of the MyGenome app will allow users to download their own data securely. Interestingly, Illumina said a physician could use the app to view the results of genetic tests they have ordered — including for issues like Mendelian disorders and pharmacogenomic drug response — before providing direct access to consumers.
Shortly after Illumina demo’d its MyGenome app concept at the Consumer Genetics Show in 2009, Apple interviewed Flatley for the iPhone business section of its website.
“Illumina is developing an iPhone application that will allow consumers to carry around their genomic information,” Flatley explained to Apple three years ago. “Part of it may be on the phone itself, part of it may be in the cloud that the phone would have access to. It would allow the customer to bring up the application and interact with it live in conjunction with their doctor.”
“The understanding of the human genome, which is very inaccessible to most people, can start to become accessible through iPhone,” Flatley said at the time. “It will be a mechanism for communications, for sharing, and for data management. iPhone can translate something very complicated into something very user-friendly.”
The app’s launch is another baby step toward the marriage of genomics and wireless health, a mega-trend long predicted by Dr. Eric Topol.
More on the first iteration of the Illumina MyGenome app in the press release below: Keep reading>>