2015 Year in Review and a 2016 Preview

2015 Year In Review

As 2015 draws to a close now is a great time to look back on the entire Genes For Good Study up to this point. Genes For Good kicked off in January of this year so we've now got just about one full year under our belts. Here's a check of some top-level numbers:

Genes For Good Participants by Gender and Age Group

Total Study Participants: 8,310
Participants Eligible for a Spit Kit: 3,702
Spit Kits Sent and Returned for Processing: 2,775
Spit Kits Processed (and Ancestry Results Generated): 2,357
Total Questions Answered by Participants: 2,389,734

Getting the genotyping pipeline for processing spit kits up and running was by far one of the biggest achievements of the year. Genotyping is neither cheap nor easy, and though it's taken some time to get caught up, we're now just about able to keep pace with the new spit kits arriving every day!

The most staggering number is the total number of questions answered by study participants. With well over two million individual responses and hundreds of thousands more every month, we're amassing a huge data set for research!

2016 Preview

So what's on the docket for 2016? Here's a quick overview...

Simpler Spit Kit Eligibility

This year we've done some tinkering with eligibility requirements for a spit kit. Since we provide and process spit kits for free, we want to ensure we collect a good amount of health-related data for research from participants first, but some of the requirements have been difficult to make absolutely clear to all participants. Early in 2016 we'll be simplifying the eligibility rules and taking steps to make your status as a participant much more obvious throughout your participation in the study.

In fact, the complicated spit kit eligibility rules (in particular that we ask participants to complete the Health Tracking surveys multiple times over the course of two weeks) is the #1 reason that our total number of participants in 2015 (8,310) was so much larger than the number of individuals who became eligible for a spit kit (3,702)! So we're definitely looking to streamline spit kit eligibility.

Return of Raw Genetic Data in January!

Easily one of the most common questions we get is "when can I download my raw genetic data?" Well, we now have a clear answer for you: January of 2016! Ultimately this has been a technically complex feature because raw genetic data sets are neither small, nor easy to move around, nor easy to consume. Thank you for being patient at every new stage of the study’s development! We've spent the past few months building a pipeline to distribute downloads of raw genetic data to participants on an as-requested basis using private, secure links and serving data from a HIPAA-compliant platform. Now, nearing the end of the testing phase, we can look forward to return of raw genetic data to participants in January of 2016.

If you've already accessed your ancestry results then your raw genetic data will become available for download as soon as we turn that system on (and, moving forward, ancestry results and raw genetic data will be released in batches together). Check in with the Genes For Good App for updates in January to get a jump on your raw genetic data as soon as it becomes available. Notifications will be sent out to all participants with data after the new system has been live and in use for a few days to make sure it can handle several thousand requests!

More Surveys, More Results, More Participation, and More Science!

Topping 2,500 genotyped participants and 8,000 total participants in our first year is an incredible achievement that would not have been possible without your help! In 2016 we hope to see those numbers more than double, triple, quadruple, or more. There are plenty of spit kits to ship!

To get there we have administrators, developers, and researchers all working to improve the Genes For Good app with new features and optimizations, add new and interesting surveys, iterate over the ancestry and genetic data we've returned to provide deeper insights to participants, and turn all this collected data into meaningful genetic research.

To get there we also need your help. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your coworkers. Tell us what you'd like to see in Genes for Good. We can advertise the study, but honestly the best way to grow is through word of mouth. Spread the word!

Thank you for your participation in 2015! Have a very happy new year and we hope to see you actively participating in Genes For Good on into 2016!