December 9, 2023

Genetic info no longer private on internet

New technique can spot an individual’s DNA profile
Several large research institutions have withdrawn genetic information from
the internet after they learned that a new technique could spot an individual’s
DNA profile even in a databank of more than 1000 people.

"In other words," says the US National Institutes of Health, "bioinformatics
techniques have progressed to the point that with enough genomic data on an
individual from another source, it is now possible to determine whether that
individual participated in a study by analysing only the pooled summary data."

The problem is that participants in "genome-wide association" studies who
volunteered their genetic information so that scientists could investigate
diseases have been told that their personal information could not be identified.
Since this is no longer the case, the databases have been withdrawn from the
web. ~ NIH,
Aug 28
; New
Scientist, Sept 1