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Google Founder Starts Project After Finding Genetic Mutation

Imagine you know that in a few decades you will be struck with an incurable disease. How much energy would you put into trying to find a cure before it's too late?

Well after learning that he had a genetic mutation that results in a high risk of Parkinson's disease, Google co-founder Sergey Brin has decided to spend millions of dollars on an innovative genetic study, which will attempt to conduct research by, you guessed it, search. Sergey's mother also has Parkinson's.

Genetic discovery company 23andMe, which was founded by Sergey's wife, will team up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center to enroll 10,000 Parkinson's patients. Participants will have their genotype mapped using 23andMe. All the data will be put into a database that can be searched for correlations and new information.

This gets me thinking — with the increased sophistication of genetic testing perhaps the rich will be able to direct the focus of scientific research in the future.


Join The Conversation
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
The rich already do direct scientific research and will continue to do so if people keep rallying against federal funding for science. Which is a shame because the people with the money often have no idea what science is important or how it's done. That said, I am pleased that he is working in conjunction with other more established groups to achieve his goals. If this works, it will be great. However, lots of genetic studies similar to this are ongoing for all types of diseases. I don't actually see his particular study as all that novel.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I work for one of the Top teaching hospitals in the nation, Shands in florida, and they have genetics counselors/testing labs and have research grants from the state to map out specific genes in families that have high risk factors. its not just a rich persons area.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Good for him. He's found a project that he is deeply passionate about, and he's contributing to it, rather than asking the government to fund it.
stephley stephley 8 years
"with the increased sophistication of genetic testing perhaps the rich will be able to direct the focus of scientific research in the future." I thought to a point this already happens. Didn't Lili Tartikoff focus a lot of her money and fund-raising efforts on the program that led to approval of Herceptin for breast cancer treatment?
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