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ResearchKit stage two: Apple wants to test your DNA

It seems Apple now wants to test your DNA, but no – you won't have to pee on your iPhone.

After successfully launching its platform for medical research last March, called ResearchKit (opens in new tab), Apple is looking for ways to expand what it can do and the logical next step is to test your DNA, people familiar with the matter have told MIT (opens in new tab).

“Apple launched ResearchKit and got a fantastic response. The obvious next thing is to collect DNA,” said Gholson Lyon, a geneticist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who isn’t involved with the studies.

Apple wouldn’t directly scoop up your DNA, of course. That would be done by academic partners. The data would, however, be maintained by scientists in a computing cloud, and certain findings could appear directly on consumers’ iPhones.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, but a person with knowledge of the plans told MIT the company’s eventual aim is to “enable the individual to show and share” DNA information with different recipients, including organisers of scientific studies.

These DNA apps might appear quite soon, too. Apple has reportedly lined up app-based studies from both New York's Mount Sinai Hospital as well as UC San Francisco, and it's hoping that they'll be ready in time for the Worldwide Developer Conference in early June.

These kinds of apps can have multiple uses. One of the uses can be to check whether or not you will have an undesired reaction to a prescription drug, and another one would be to check how closely you are related to someone else.

In any case, Apple needs you to donate DNA.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.