Despite the high utilization value of DNA data within healthcare, data sharing in human genomics is a multifaceted challenge. Ethical considerations for use combined with the uniqueness of the genome of an individual require special precautions to enable sharing while protecting data privacy.

South-Korean biotech enterprise Macrogen, the country’s leading gene sequencing service provider, is developing a genomic big data blockchain-based platform together with a local tech firm Bigster.

According to a press release, Macrogen said that it is working with South Korean big data firm Bigster to develop a blockchain network to enhance security of personal genome information management and handle large volumes of data reliably. The two companies plan to complete the platform by June 2019.

Macrogen said genomic data, which carries critical information about a person’s biological makeup, could enable doctors to customize their patients’ diagnoses and treatment plans. The pharmaceutical industry can also use it for the development of new drugs and therapeutic agents.

Despite the high utilization value of DNA data within healthcare, data sharing in human genomics is a multifaceted challenge. Ethical considerations for use combined with the uniqueness of the genome of an individual require special precautions to enable sharing while protecting data privacy.

The firms’ envisioned platform will operate on a “private blockchain” in which only selected parties, such as pharmaceutical firms, research institutes, hospitals and genetic analysis startups, can participate. Macrogen believes this model would be “easy to expand and manage.”

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