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Genetic Avatar Technology at 2012 GET Conference

April 17, 2012

This is a guest post from Andrew Evans, CEO of Genomic Arts and Senior Information Architect at 5AM Solutions. His company is sponsoring the 2012 GET Conference, where he’ll be showing off “genetic avatar technology” for attendees. Here is a mini press release with more details.

Putting the “Fun” Back Into Functional Genomics
Rockville, MD-based Genomic Arts aims to put a friendlier face on personal genomics – literally. “Engaging the public in genetics research is critical to the advancement of precision medicine,” said Genomic Arts CEO Andrew Evans. “While many people grasp the importance of it, they are often reluctant to participate – Genomic Arts seeks to make genomics fun and accessible to everyone.”

As a hint of things to come, Genomic Arts is debuting its patent-pending genetic avatar technology at the 2012 Genomes Environments Traits (GET) Conference to be held at Harvard Medical School on April 25.

“Basically, we create a video game avatar character by reading your genetic code,” Evans said. The technology demo, dubbed “23andMii” by Genomic Arts, currently reads single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data created by the 23andMe personal genomics service, and g enerates an avatar in the style of a Nintendo Wii Mii character. “While this demo uses 23andMe and Nintendo platforms, the core technology is not limited to either one,” Evans said.

Special Invitation

Genomic Arts is offering all GET attendees who have their own 23andMe genetic data the opportunity to have their avatar printed on their conference badges. “We know we won’t get everyone’s avatars right on the first try – this year’s GET focus is on traits, and we hope this will spark attendees to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of calling phenotype directly from genotype. We will also ask for feedback from attendees about what they feel our software got right – and wrong – when generating their avatars,” Evans said.

In addition, Genomic Arts will have a large display in the conference center featuring the avatars of all participating conference attendees.

GET attendees wishing to have genetic avatars printed on their badges will need to provide their 23andMe data to Genomic Arts by no later than April 20. To participate, please contact Andrew Evans at

PGP participants – if you have already uploaded your 23andMe data file to your PGP profile, you may simply send along a link to your profile, or your profile ID.


Genomic Arts. Genomic Arts, LLC is advancing genetics research by engaging the public in innovative ways. Genomic Arts was founded by bioinformaticians Andrew Evans and Will FitzHugh with the backing of Maryland-based life sciences software powerhouse 5AM Solutions.  Contact: Andrew Evans –

GET Conference. The GET Conference is the event for people working at the frontiers of human biology. We invite leading thinkers to discuss the important ways in which new genomic technologies will affect all of our lives in the coming years and to debate their technical, commercial, and societal impacts. We bring together scientists, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, practitioners, investors, researchers, and others to discuss advances in our ability to measure and understand human biology. The GET Conference is organized by the nonprofit charity (Twitter: #GET2012)

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