The DNA in our cells is subject to a lot of stress, and often the molecule breaks and becomes defective. There are mechanisms that exist to repair damaged DNA, but too often those are insufficient and the damaged DNA proliferates, potentially causing cancer and other diseases. Exogen Bio, a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab spin-off, has commercialized technology that can detect broken DNA strings in blood samples, and has asked for help from the crowd to better understand what such testing can reveal.
The company has taken to Indiegogo, offering to “monitor the health of your DNA” by quantifying the frequency of damaged DNA strings. The basic deal is that for $79 you get a kit through which you share three samples of blood taken on consecutive days. In return you get data on how damaged is the DNA in the samples, and compared to other people. As part of the campaign, Exogen Bio gets to use the data it collects from everyone’s samples to learn more about DNA damage and whether this kind of testing can be beneficial for health monitoring. Here are the company founders explaining the project:
Indiegogo: Exogen Bio – How damaged is your DNA?