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The consumer genome. You’ll hear that phrase enough the next couple years that it will gain both the weight and lightness of inevitability.

It will feel inevitable because, as we’ve been hearing for years now, DNA is just another long string of crunchable, malleable, transportable code, so it’s just the next destination for the digital train we’re all riding at breakneck speed, accompanied by our ever-growing and ever-more accessible data clouds.

Most other information in this age has wound up in a paradoxical state: both decentralized—available in practically every corner of the Earth—yet also densely concentrated on the server farms of the few, who put it to uses that range from national security to ad targeting.

And so, perhaps, with your genomes, too. You will know your own DNA intimately, but a handful of entities want to have yours, and millions of others’, at their fingertips. A few have gotten a good head start.

What will it be worth? In vast pools, genomic data could unlock health secrets and change the way societies practice medical care. If indeed... see more