The inspiration for this project came from traditional genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that look for genetic variants associated with a specific trait. All of us have backgrounds biology and software development so we wanted to see how we could interweave the two and help accelerate variant discovery, while also providing a foundation for normal people to harness the power of their genomes.
What it does
In its early stages, Congeneality works best by taking a person's genetic data from 23andMe, and personality information from twitter. Using IBM Watson's Personality Insights API, Congeneality is able to receive insights on people's personality characteristics, needs, and values. This version of the web app focuses on the big five personality traits and 20 different single-nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) sites. The true power of Congeneality comes when there is enough statistical power to infer a person's genotype from their personality and vice versa. The genetic data and personality information is stored anonymously.
How we built it
We used three APIs: Twitter API, IBM Watson Personality Insights API, and the 23andMe API. For hosting, we used Heroku. We wrote several statistical algorithms to make relevant connections between genetic data and personalities.
Challenges we ran into
Two of us on the team had never used node.js so that was one hurdle we had to overcome. One of us was participating in a hackathon for the first time and one had never done any web development. One of the biggest challenges we ran into was the flow of data from the client and server, which kept us up the whole of the last night.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being able to streamline the data collection is something we are proud of, especially considering how long it takes to complete traditional GWAS. We're also proud to have the web app running considering our team's overall lack of experience in web development.
What we learned
We learned a lot about web development and hosting. Two of us also learned a whole new programming language, node.js. We also learned how to use the APIs we chose for this project.
What's next for Congeneality
The future applications for a platform like this are tremendous. Congeneality has the ability to be a very advanced platform for things such as dog matching, dating, family planning, marketing, and much more. It is important to keep in mind user privacy, however, and for this reason, we chose to keep all data anonymous. We think genetic data has the ability to soon transform various industries, not just healthcare.