Would you trust your DNA with APPLE? HealthKit lined up as genome data trafficker

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Apple is set to enable DNA handling in iOS apps, allowing the applications to feed data from DNA labs to genetic researchers via iPhones or iPads.

A report from the MIT Technology Review claims two US hospitals are running trial programs to collect DNA from people, and then transmit details of their genetic blueprints to their devices via Apple's HealthKit API.

The trials, taking place at University of California San Francisco and Mount Sinai New York, involve researchers collecting DNA samples from simple methods such as spitting in a cup or swabbing the cheek, and extracting the genetic information. The DNA data is then transmitted back to users securely via an iOS app.

Once the users have their DNA info stored in their phones, they can contribute the information to other researchers for medical studies on areas such as disease research or genetics, again via the HealthKit API from their gadgets.

According to the report, UC San Francisco is already planning to use the collected DNA information for a study on the causes of premature birth, by analyzing information taken from fangirls who get knocked up. The trial programs and their reports are set to wrap up in time for Apple to present the findings at next month's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC).

Apple's HealthKit hasn't gotten off to the best of starts. Billed by Apple as a method for connecting millions of users to medical researchers, HealthKit was delayed by Apple due to numerous software bugs.

The Cupertino giant is hoping that the recent launch of the Apple Watch and its myriad of body sensors will help boost the use of HealthKit among users and bring more apps from developers, though security fears have already been raised. Even those sensors have shown weaknesses when attempting to collect information from the wrists of fanbois. ®


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