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Privacy of hundreds of thousands of genetic volunteers may be at risk


Scientist

Privacy of hundreds of thousands of genetic volunteers may be at risk

Health 4 February 2020 By Becca Muir Researchers use large DNA databases to conduct genome-wide association studiesBloomberg/GettyThe privacy of people who add their DNA to research databases may be vulnerable to hackers, who could exploit the information published in genome studies to identify an individual’s genetic code. Genetics researchers are inadvertently publishing information that can…

Privacy of hundreds of thousands of genetic volunteers may be at risk


Health



4 February 2020

By Becca Muir

Blood samples

Researchers use large DNA databases to conduct genome-wide association studies

Bloomberg/Getty

The privacy of people who add their DNA to research databases may be vulnerable to hackers, who could exploit the information published in genome studies to identify an individual’s genetic code.

Genetics researchers are inadvertently publishing information that can theoretically be pieced together to identify someone’s DNA held in a research or commercial database, say Daphne Ezer at the Alan Turing Institute in London and her colleagues. Her team simulated how attackers could identify a person’s genetic code, and used this method to find a single dog’s …

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