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Northern Nevadans offered free genetic testing in exchange for their data

Free genetic testing is being offered to 5,000 Northern Nevadans as part of a public-private collaboration intended to assess how factors like genetics and environment affect overall population health.

Health care network Renown Health, California-based personal genetics company 23andMe and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) — an environmental research hub that’s part of the Nevada System of Higher Education — will partner on the pilot study, according to a DRI news release.

Nevadans who volunteer for the pilot project will receive free access to 65 personalized genetic reports regarding the participant’s health, wellness, ancestry and family traits via 23andMe’s commercial service.

Combining that anonymized genetic data with health and population data from Renown and information from environmental databases will enable DRI scientists to “analyze and model public health risks ranging from disease and illness to the effects of air quality on the health of Nevadans,” according to the release.

The approximately $2 million project will be funded largely by the Renown Health Foundation and Nevada’s Knowledge Fund, created by the state Legislature to drive research and technology development.

Participation in the study is open to the first 5,000 eligible Northern Nevadans who enroll at partners.renown.org or call (775) 982-6914 .

The groups say they hope to expand the study to include participation opportunities for all Nevadans.

Contact Pashtana Usufzy at pusufzy@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Find @pashtana_u on Twitter.

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