Sep 18, 2012 - News

Announcing the 23andMe Personal Genome API

23andMe’s Mike Polcari discussing the API at the 2012 Quantified Self meeting

Calling all developers! Do you spend hours playing with genetic data, turning As, Ts, Cs, and Gs into fors, ifs, strings and returns? Do you have a great idea for a personal genome app? Turn your ideas into reality with the Personal Genome API!

At 23andMe, we know there is no monopoly on great ideas. The curious minds, enthusiastic data junkies, and talented innovators who are members of 23andMe remind us every day that there are so many creative ways to learn from our DNA.

We also know that there are only so many ideas we as a company can focus on and build. That’s why we’re opening up our application programming interface (API) — to give people with ideas the ability to create new applications and tools for the 23andMe community.

What does this mean for me, a regular 23andMe member?

  • An API means more people are creating awesome features that can help you get more out of your 23andMe data.
  • 23andMe will evaluate every app that requests uses of our API.
  • You get to decide. Each app will request that you log in to your 23andMe account and provide access. Each app will specify the data it is requesting and what use it will make of that data. If you don’t want to give a particular app access to your 23andMe data, simply deny access to that app.

Mike Polcari, 23andMe’s Director of Software Engineering, and Mike Macpherson, Principal Product Scientist, spoke about the API at the Quantified Self conference (QS 2012) held at Stanford University September 15-16.

For many “self-trackers”, DNA is the ultimate source of self-data and QS conference-goers immediately latched onto the potential of the Personal Genome API for the self-tracking movement. Integrating various sets of genetic traits into sleep trackers, for example, was a popular topic.

For developers who create third-party tools for genetic data, the API would access a user’s 23andMe-related data securely and seamlessly, streamlining the user experience and improving the privacy of such tools by accessing only specifically authorized amounts of data.

If you’re interested in creating a great genome app, visit Developers who’d like to use the API must first apply for authorization from 23andMe, describing the proposed application and the information it will request from end users. While 23andMe will not endorse or promote specific applications, 23andMe will individually evaluate applications on a case-by-case basis. 23andMe customers can decide for themselves whether to grant access to an app that uses the API. View the current API terms here.

The Personal Genome API is a work in progress and is available for free during this early access period. The scope and terms of the API will evolve as we gather feedback and learn from developers, users and others.

We are excited to welcome third-party developers as our partners in building new features for personal genomes. There is no app too small — so if you’d like to create some “genetic code”, we invite you to apply!

Read more here

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