[Short general description]: Nebula Genomics will leverage blockchain technology to eliminate the middleman and empower people to own their personal genomic data. Nebula is using blockchain technology to construct a platform that lets customers reap the benefits of making their genetic information available to researchers, while maintaining their privacy.
[Main problems tackled]: Nebula’s main aim is described through their motto: “Understand your genome. Help cure diseases. Own your data. Powered by blockchain”.
The Nebula model eliminates personal genomics companies as middlemen between data owners and data buyers. Instead, data owners can acquire their personal genomic data from Nebula sequencing facilities or other sources, join the Nebula blockchain-based, peer-to-peer network and directly connect with data buyers. How?
1) Lower sequencing costs - nebula reduces effective sequencing costs
2) Enhanced data protection - data is protected through multiple mechanisms
3) Efficient data acquisition - efficiently acquire large genomic datasets.
4) Big data ready - primed for the forthcoming explosion of genomic data.
[Main contribution proposal]: The Nebula economy - will be driven by three forces: technological advancement, industry needs, and the consumer market. First, as DNA sequencing technology advances, the costs of human genome sequencing will further decrease and more people will sequence their genomes. Second, industry demand for genomic data will attract more people to join the Nebula network and share their data, thereby further increasing the value of the network and resulting in even more demand. Third, genomic data growth will enable medical research that will expand our knowledge of human genetics, thereby enabling better interpretation of individual human genomes and ultimately attracting more people to sequence their genomes.
1) Nebula network - The Nebula network is built on the Blockstack (blockstack.org) platform and the Ethereum-derived Nebula blockchain
2) Genetic data generation - samples will be sequenced using next-generation DNA sequencing
3) Phenotypic data generation - buyers will be able to send survey questions to data owners. Importantly, surveys can be designed as chains of interdependent questions that will reveal the true phenotypes even if the survey participants are incentivized to give false responses to make their data appear more valuable
4) External data aggregation - Genomic data that was not generated at Nebula sequencing facilities can be offered on the Nebula network as wel
5) Data storage - Data storage and access control will be implemented using the Blockstack platform for decentralized apps.
6) Personal genome interpretation - data owners will able to interpret their personal genomic data without sharing it with any third party.
7) Secure computations - Genomic and phenotypic data will be analyzed using the Arvados (arvados.org) open source bioinformatics platform,
8) Data owner protection - data owners may have to reveal their phenotypic information in plaintext. For instance, a data buyer who considers subsidizing the sequencing of a data owner will request to see the unencrypted phenotypic data.
9) Payments - The prices will be in Nebula tokens and will decrease at an exponential rate as DNA sequencing becomes cheaper
10) Third-party apps - Helix sequences customer samples and third party developers build apps that provide interpretation.