Apple has improved its ResearchKit platform with the capability of integrating users’ genetic information.
ResearchKit is, of course, the app-based iOS platform that uses iPhones and Apple Watches to track biometrics and other data for the purpose of large-scale academic study. It has already been adopted for numerous research studies by high-profile institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Duke University, and Oregon Health & Science University.
Now, through a partnership with genetic profiling service 23andMe, Apple has enabled researchers to incorporate users’ genetic data into their research studies. And some are already taking advantage, with Stanford Medicine using it to study cardiovascular disease, Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine studying asthma, and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine pursuing a better understanding of postpartum depression.
Commenting in a statement, Mount Sinai’s Prof. Eric Schadt explained that “[c]ollecting this type of information will help researchers determine genomic indicators for specific diseases and conditions,” adding, “ResearchKit is allowing us to study this population more broadly than ever before and through the large amounts of data we’re able to gather from iPhone, we’re understanding how factors like environment, geography and genes influence one’s disease and response to treatment.”