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DIYgenomics - Subjective Experience Study

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DIYgenomics Subjective Experience Study

DIYgenomics wiki homepage


Title: Subjective Experience - Citizen Qualia Study


Summary: This study seeks to investigate a potential link between genetics and subjective experience in areas such as color perception, life well-being, and autonomy. Subjective Experience is one of the final frontiers of investigation that science is starting to be able to examine through the collection of objective metrics data. It is possible that there is a universal aesthetics to subjective experience, with features such as light, movement, beauty in the landscape, and access to autonomy or knowledge (Skinner 2013).


Hypothesis: Individuals with polymorphisms in genes related to the process of self-referentiality and self-experience may have different kinds of phenotypic subjective experience.


Study conduct: The study is conducted by crowdsourcing participants to provide relevant personal genetic SNP data and answer study-standardized online questionnaires.


1. Genomic Analysis

The area of the brain involved with self-referentiality is the medial prefrontal cortex (Abraham 2013, Jenkins 2011). Some of the genes and SNPs involved in processes in the medial prefrontal cortex are: GABRA2 rs279871 (Kareken 2010, Beevers 2009), BDNF Val66Met rs6265 (Pattwell 2012), COMT Val158Met rs4680 (He 2012), and 5-HTTLPR rs4795541, rs25531 (Ma 2013). Genes and SNPs related to color perception may include those related to variation in human color vision: opsin 1 OPN1LW (red), OPN1MW Ser180Ala (Verrelli 2008, 2004 and Deeb 2006, 2004) and retinitis pigmentosa: TULP1, NR2E3 (Haider 2000), and MFRP.


2. Phenotypic Analysis


Potential citizen ethicist review: (see Ethical Review Q&A)

Alexander Gerlyand, Biotechnology professional

Amanda Kahn-Kirby, Biotechnology professional



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