Genes for Good is approaching 5,000 total participants, and the time is right for our first full blog post! We plan to write new posts every so often, allowing participants to see what’s new in the app, what we’re discovering, how we’re using participant data, and our future plans.
The rate of participation in Genes for Good has been amazing. Having 5,000 participants sign up for an online genetic study is a remarkable feat, with all the credit going to our fantastic participants. There are a few curious patterns in sign-ups thus far, summarized nicely in the graphs within the app (which all participants can see when they log in).
First, there is phenomenal geographic diversity of participation within the US, with representation from all 50 states (but still no one from Puerto Rico)! Second, there is an under-representation of older adults in the study. This demographic trend reflects the overall pool of Facebook users, but is perhaps even further skewed toward young females. This is actually an interesting phenomenon in research generally: women engage in research studies at greater rates than men. And, since Facebook users tend to be younger than the general population, this trend is also reflected in our participation demographics charted below. Probably no surprise there. Genes for Good is an open platform for anyone to contribute to genetic research so please engage others in the study!
New App Features
We recently released a new Asthma & Allergies questionnaire, with many more to come over the next few weeks and months. The new surveys cover a range of topics, from additional health information, to more reasoning questions, to substance use -- all of which are critical to understanding participant health and health-related behaviors as we study how genes impact health and disease.
Other than new questionnaires, we’re also working hard to improve the user experience and to develop new exciting features. Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback when features don't work the way you expect. Like any new project, there have been some growing pains and we're working hard to get through them. We’ll certainly let you in on the details of new features in future blog posts.
Return of Genetic Data
The primary purpose of Genes for Good is to advance scientific knowledge about health, behavior, and disease. In pursuit of this goal, we ask for participants to provide data, including their DNA through a saliva sample. When a participant gives their data to Genes for Good, we don’t think of it as ours. It’s still theirs, and we want to give it back in new and interesting ways. For those participants who have already provided a saliva sample -- thank you! We’re working hard to analyze your DNA, generate genotypes, and see how those genotypes are associated with the health information you provided. These genotypes will then be made available to you for download through the app, likely within the next few months.
It’s been an exciting two months at Genes for Good. We’re honored to be able to put your data to good use. Keep up the good work!
May 18 2015