Here’s an API launch that won’t leave you yawning: 23andme is opening up its treasure trove of genetics data to third-party developers.

The Personal Genome API includes get calls for user data, profile information, and even specific genome locations.

“Opening our API offers an immense opportunity for customers to do more with their DNA,” said 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki in a statement on the news.

“While 23andMe has created a number of groundbreaking and innovative tools for our customer to explore their DNA, the API will open the door to the possibility of new web-based interactive tools to be developed by external groups.”

Of course, when you think about opening up data on genes, you have to think about how to use highly personal information in a way that respects individuals’ privacy. Accordingly, devs will be required to obtain individual-level consent for all data their applications use.

Basically, it’ll work much in the way that Facebook Open Graph apps work: The user has to log into the app with an existing 23andMe account, and the app has to ask for access to specific parts of the user’s 23andMe profile and/or genome information. If the user doesn’t like the level of access, he or she can deny the app access to the data.

The Personal Genome API is currently available free of charge for devs, who can sign up now for early access to the data. The company will evaluate apps that apply for early access on a case-by-case basis. 23andMe expects to change the kinds of data offered and the API terms and conditions as it observes different use cases and gathers feedback from third-party developers.

Top image courtesy of DNA Art, Flickr

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