Google to map human body

Google launches baseline study to eventually track down and prevent diseases


SAN ANTONIO – For most people, Google is a handy search engine that you can use every day, but now Google is launching a baseline study in hopes of helping people in a different way.

The study, which will collect anonymous genetic information from 175 people, will map out an overall picture of what a healthy human body should be.

The hope is to track down and eventually prevent diseases like cancer.

"We are encouraged to hear this news that Google is embarking on this gigantic undertaking, in terms of biomedical research," said Dr. Rector Arya, assistant professor for the Department of Pediatrics and Endocrinology and Diabetes at the UT Health Science Center.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google will use its massive computing power to find patters with the genetic information that researchers will gather from the first 175 subjects and eventually, from thousands of subjects.

Arya said their teams have taken on similar studies.

"We found some interesting findings, but we didn't get the answers we were expecting through these studies," said Arya. "So, now we are moving on to the next level which is the next generation sequencing, very important to understand the human diseases."

Arya said Wednesday that he believes this baseline study is ethical as long as the data is used for medial purposes only.

KSAT asked this question on Facebook: "Would you be willing to give up your health records so Google can map the human body?"

Many people said absolutely not.

One man said Google already knows too much about us.

Another person brought up concerns about research subjects remaining anonymous.

And some people actually said it sounds interesting.

About the Author: