Google Inc.’s Calico, a biotechnology firm created by the search-engine giant to study aging and related diseases, will delve into the genetic database amassed by a unit of Ancestry.com LLC to look for hereditary influences on longevity.
AncestryDNA, a division of the Provo, Utah-based genealogy company, has gathered more than 1 million DNA samples from the $99 testing kits it sells to consumers to help map their family history. Beside the genetic information, Calico will have access to tens of millions of public family trees created by consumers, which include birth and death dates, relationships, and geographical locations.
“Now that we’ve got 1 million samples, there’s enough statistical power in the dataset to elucidate drug targets,” said Ken Chahine, Ancestry’s executive vice president and head of DNA and health. “If you aggregate a set of individuals who had long-lived families and we have their genetic information as well, that’s a way to start making hypotheses about the heritability of longevity.”
Health companies are mining the growing amounts of digital information on people’s genetic codes to hunt for...