Harvard PGP data in Action!

As an Open Humans member, we wanted to share some news and updates from one of our partner studies – the Harvard Personal Genome Project!

About Harvard PGP

The Harvard Personal Genome Project (or PGP) is, in many ways, the spiritual parent of the Open Humans project. The PGP began in 2005 with a proposal by George Church. Its mission is to advance personal genomic research – the study of everything in our DNA – through public data sharing. It hosts genomic and health data from thousands of participants who understand that their data, by its very nature, is potentially identifiable.

Interested in participating? You can sign up here: https://my.pgp-hms.org/signup

Breaking the $1000 genome barrier!

This fall, Veritas debuted an offer for $1000 genome sequencing exclusive to Harvard PGP participants! The PGP’s resources are limited, and it has many more volunteers than it can sequence at the moment. Now participants have a faster way to get their genome in the hands of researchers: By getting a genome through Veritas, then donating it to the PGP and/or Open Humans.

Data visualization

Earlier this year, Abram Connelly developed an interactive tool called “Untap” to explore Harvard PGP data. Abram is a PGP participant, a member of the PGP staff, and a researcher at Curoverse, and he wanted to make the PGP data more accessible to all. His coworker Nancy Ouyang, also a PGP staff member, wrote a great summary of using Untap for the PersonalGenomes.org blog.

Genome interpretation

A community of genomic researchers called the Critical Assessment of Genome Interpretation (or “CAGI”) launched an experiment using PGP data. This experiment challenges researchers to match PGP participant genomes to health and trait profiles. The challenge is open until December 7th. CAGI is a great match for PGP data because the methods can be “open source”: both algorithms and data can be completely open and available to all.

Celebrating 10 years at GET

The PGP celebrated its 10th anniversary in September at the GET Global Conference in Vienna, Austria. “GET” stands for “Genomes Environments and Traits”, and the conferences are traditionally very participant-centric: the GET Labs events invite attendees to work with other research groups and were an inspiration for Open Humans. In 2015, GET went farther afield and was hosted by a PGP member site (Genom Austria), reaching out to the global community. Open Humans’ co-founder Madeleine Ball also spoke about data access and sharing as part of the session on Society. We’re looking forward to meeting participants – and Open Humans members – at the next GET Conference in Boston, in April 2016.

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