In a City Journal article on “Who Owns the Code of Life?“, Peter Huber mentions the following novel bit of organic, bottom-up, Hayekian knowledge formation. The power of individuals, freely associated, never cease to amaze:

Last year, 23andMe, a company founded to provide consumer genetic-sequencing services, announced that it would let other providers develop applications that would interact with data entrusted to 23andMe by its customers. Hundreds soon did. Their interests, Wired reported, included “integrating genetic data with electronic health records for studies at major research centers and . . . building consumer-health applications focused on diet, nutrition and sleep.” For individuals, 23andMe’s platform will, in the words of the company’s director of engineering, serve as “an operating system for your genome, a way that you can authorize what happens with your genome online.” Numerous websites are already coordinating ad hoc “crowd-sourced” studies of how patients respond to treatments for various diseases. The not-for-profit Cancer Commons is pursuing an “open science initiative linking cancer patients, physicians, and scientists in rapid learning communities.”

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