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Andhra Pradesh Government Plans to Store Residents’ DNA Sequence on Blockchain

Indian Government’s indirect Currency Bad, Blockchain Good stance has increased the uncertainty for the future of Cryptocurrency exchanges. But the companies working on the underlying technology Blockchain, may have something to look forward to.

Once again the State of Andhra Pradesh is taking a step ahead in the adoption of Blockchain. The eighth largest State in India has signed an MoU with a German company Shivom to pilot Shivom’s blockchain-based global DNA ecosystem in India. If the pilot is successful, it could mean that over 60 Million AP residents’ Genome will be on blockchain by the end of 2025.

“Our partnership with Shivom explores the possibilities of providing an efficient way of diagnostic services to patients of Andhra Pradesh by maintaining the privacy of the individual data through blockchain technologies,” said J A Chowdary, IT Advisor to Chief Minister, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Predictive Medication is the future of medicine from where we stand. The ability to diagnose and prepare a treatment based on patient’s genetics can help reduce complications and improve the chances of curing dangerous diseases. It appears the state is bullish about blockchain and has also sought to digitise its land registry system and fight identity theft using the distributed ledger technology.

How Does It Work?

It took 15 years and 2.7 Billion USD to map the first ever Human Genome. Over the years the technology has improved and has brought down the cost of DNA sequencing of a Human to a little over $1000.

Today, a resident’s saliva is collected with a cotton swab to sequence the entire DNA. For Andhra Pradesh citizens, this sequence data will be stored on a Blockchain. The difference it makes to use Blockchain is the ability to securely store the data. A distributed ledger system using cryptographic techniques will ensure that the data is not leaked or hacked.

Researchers and Governments will be allowed to access anonymous raw genomic data. Studying the samples of DNA sequences will help researches prepare advanced, predictive medications for minority groups based on the ethnicity and history that may have altered their DNA in comparison with the rest of the population.

A Caution For All

It is important to note that, data, if not handled properly can and will be used against you. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica fiasco is one such example. Let us also not forget the numerous leaks of Aadhaar Data. Shivom has to ensure the privacy of the citizens’ data and the current centralised system posses significant risks. It remains to see how the blockchain will change that but it is a step in the right direction nonetheless.

While this partnership is a big step, nothing has been set in stone just yet. It is still possible the trial won’t be successful. But the acceptance of an Indian Government shows that we might be heading towards the mainstream acceptance of Blockchain.

Would you like your DNA to be sequenced and stored on a blockchain? Let us know in the comments below

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