Intermountain Healthcare building 'GeneRosity Registry,' a global DNA database for genetic discoveries

The health system will collect unprocessed data from AncestryDNA, MyHeritage and 23andMe to validate new findings and discover new mutations, the organization said.
By Bernie Monegain
09:31 AM
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intermountain global DNA database

Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah. Photo via Google Maps

Intermountain Healthcare announced plans to build a genetic repository and populate it with unprocessed genetic data from companies such as 23andMe, AncestryDNA and MyHeritage that consumers will voluntarily upload.

Researchers from Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute have begun to create a new global DNA registry based on medical histories from people around the world. Researchers are seeking existing genetic test results and electronic health histories to form the worldwide database, which they’ve named GeneRosity Registry. They aim to discover what benefits might accrue from sharing existing results today and in the future. 

“Our project is creating a resource for future studies,” Stacey Knight, a cardiovascular and genetic epidemiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, said in a statement. “A person’s DNA is made up of more than 3 billion individual pairs of genetic codes, but finding specific genes that contribute to health problems isn’t easy.”

[Also: 23andMe lands $250 million to expand do-it-yourself genetics testing]

Identifying patterns of disorders among relatives helps medical researchers determine whether an individual, family members, or future generations might be at an increased risk of developing a particular condition.

“We’ll be able to use the information people submit to validate new genetic and disease findings, discover new genetic mutation and genetic profiles, and drive future studies,” Knight added.

The information will be stored in a secure database accessed only by researchers involved in the GeneRosity Registry. The project is conducted completely online and, as such, it does not require any study-related visits or phone calls, Intermountain Healthcare executives noted.

The Intermountain Research Foundation provides seed grant money for research projects like this one and others that lead to clinical applications.

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Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com