Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Approaches to Genomic Privacy

My potluck for this week echoes and provides an update on the paper Elisa posted about individuals' detectability in large samples.  This paper in Science magazine a month ago determined that not only can SNP profiles of individuals be parsed out of large sample sets, but that personal identifying information can be matched up to anonymous samples by comparing those samples to genetic geneology databases.  This means that not only are consent issues prevalent when donating a sample to a biomedical research database, but even that private donations for one's own interest (for instance, in his or her family history) can be traced and linked to other genetic information.  And I know Joan already posted this paper, but since it is largely in response to the types of privacy concerns made explicit in the science article, I thought it would be worth while to post again.  It argues that since these types of privacy problems are exacerbated by claiming anonymity (which cannot be guaranteed), that it is better to tie personal information to the samples and thus claim protection under legislation designed to regulate genomics research.

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