Reposted from Talking Points Memo. Written by Carl Franzen.
Crowdfunding, or fundraising over the Web by soliciting a mass of donors, is good for more than just financing pet projects like music albums and iPhone accessories.
Just ask the Nieders: The New York family of three (and one dog, Parker) have been searching for answers to the cause of four-year-old daughter Maya’s global developmental delays. She hasn’t been able to speak aside from a few short words for most of her life.
Now, thanks to crowdfunding, they may have a clue: Researchers at the Rare Genomics Institute, a nonprofit founded in 2011 dedicated to helping patients with unique genetic diseases, on Tuesday reported that a genome sequencing test performed on Maya’s DNA and paid for with online donations has uncovered a previously unknown gene variant that could be responsible for Maya’s developmental challenges.
“Though we need to do further research to confirm this first gene discovery, it is a major milestone,” said Jimmy Lin, a geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis and the principal founder of the Rare Genomics Institute, in a statement.