Networks in the Life Sciences – Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology
14th EMBL PhD Symposium

25th–27th October 2012

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Eriksson

  • 23andMe


Nicholas Eriksson Principal scientist at the direct to consumer personal genomics company 23andMe, Nicholas Eriksson uses data generated to perform GWAS of human traits, applying statistical, computational & mathematical methods to study phylogenetics, viral evolution & population genetics.

Talk: Interactive web-based genetic research at 23andMe

With the costs of genotyping and sequencing dropping rapidly, bringing together individuals to collect phenotypes becomes a proportionally greater hurdle in genetic research. As the flurry of genetic progress in the last decade has created an excitement about genetics in the public, 23andMe has brought together over 150,000 consumers in order to learn about their genetics and to participate in new research using web-based surveys. This has allowed us to study over 1,000 different diseases and traits, most of which have never been analyzed in large scale human genetics. I’ll show how this approach can lead to interesting results for a wide range of phenotypes, including Parkinson’s disease, allergies, and a wide variety of morphological traits. We have discovered over 250 novel associations for morphological traits such as shoe size, dimples, and nose shape. These associations show that there is an interesting, complex genetic architecture underlying human morphology and point towards a possible role of morphology driving selection. I’ll also discuss the current state of risk prediction based on genetics and give some projections for the future.