Helping Citizen Scientists Understand Their Microbiomes
A startup affiliated with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at the University of California, San Francisco, uBiome offers citizen scientists details about their bodies’ microbial compositions. Employing high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques, uBiome helps people understand their microbiome, which is a balanced ecosystem of microorganisms inhabiting all areas of the body. A well-functioning microbiome is linked to positive behavior and mood, as well as to digestion and the ability regulate potentially harmful pathogens.
Priced at less than $90, the uBiome kit allows people to compare their microbiome with others’ and to understand how its composition changes. After ordering the uBiome kit, customers fill out a survey and complete sample tubes that are then sent back to the firm for analysis. All information is kept completely private, with multiple layers of encryption ensuring that data remains well protected. Members of the uBiome community have their results aggregated anonymously for comparison with other collected samples. With customer consent, this anonymized data is also used in research projects led by the uBiome scientific team.