Apple could collect user DNA by using ResearchKit

iPhones are now capable to track your footsteps to your heart rate, a myriad of data from your everyday life. Apple is looking to gather a new type of information from its users DNA. Apple is planning to release apps, to help hospitals and research teams conduct clinical trials and other medical research from their iPhones, using its new ResearchKit developer tools.

According to resources, Apple’s goal is to “enable the individual to show and share” genetic data with various researching entities. Thousands of people reportedly signed up for the study in the first week. The first of the Research Kit apps is mPower, designed to log a user’s Parkinson’s symptoms, relaying the information back to scientists for analysis.

Collecting DNA seems like a big departure from Apple’s traditional fare, but it’s really just step in the evolution of Apple’s ResearchKit tools from its HealthKit. Earlier this year IBM and Apple paired up as Apple incorporated supercomputer, Watson, into its HealthKit and ResearchKit developer tools, with a goal of quickly analyzing the masses of data from clinical trials.

Apple isn’t collecting any DNA data itself–its research partners are handling the actual genetic material. Apple could be working its way towards direct-to-consumer genetic testing,which inturn provides an advantage with its built-in customer base from over 700 million iPhone sales.

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