In April I attended the Genomes Environments Traits conference, along with a couple hundred other people, many of whom were and are participants in the Personal Genome Project. This was the first year that GET felt more like a coming-out party than a cultish gathering of fringe -omics enthusiasts. Yes, there was still a bit of a dewy-eyed utopianism and yes, there were some people there who didn’t seem to fully grasp what the PGP is about, but the point is: they were there. They were invited to a meeting with the researchers who were studying them and the meeting was free. It was, to borrow a phrase, “…an opportunity to foster symmetry of knowledge and learning processes between purported experts and non-experts.”
At GET participants had the chance to participate in various additional studies, including this one:
Autodesk and Iowa State University conducted real-time 3D video scans of the faces of attendees at the GET Conference. As part of the exhibit, a fun experiment was tried where attendees were asked to make different faces for about 10 seconds, always the same faces, so that the data could be compared later. This fun exhibit could have a concrete real world application in the future tied to the newest scientific innovation in connection to the Personal Genome Project.