23andme

Written by: Stephen Hsu

Primary Source:  Information Processing

I’m in Mountain View to give a talk at 23andMe. Their latest funding round was $250M on a (reported) valuation of $1.5B. If I just add up the Crunchbase numbers it looks like almost half a billion invested at this point…

Slides: Genomic Prediction of Complex Traits

Abstract: We apply methods from Compressed Sensing (L1-penalized regression; Donoho-Tanner phase transition with noise) to the UKBB dataset of 500k SNP genotypes. We construct genomic predictors for several complex traits. Our height predictor captures nearly all of the predicted SNP heritability for this trait — thereby resolving the missing heritability problem. Actual heights of most individuals in validation tests are within a few cm of predicted heights. I also discuss application of these methods to polygenic disease risk: sparsity estimates (of the number of causal loci), combined with phase transition scaling analysis, allow estimates of the amount of case | control data required to construct good predictors.

Here’s how people + robots handle your spit sample to produce a SNP genotype:

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Stephen Hsu
Stephen Hsu is vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also made contributions to genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security. Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed anti-malware technologies—Hsu has given invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world.
Stephen Hsu

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