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Identifying a Culprit In a Bloodbath

worromot Re:fear mongering ftw (47 comments)

Do you have any idea how much DNA analysis costs?
About $350, the last time I checked. For about 500,000 genotypes per individual.

There is also a very major technology push for the "thousand-dollar genome", i.e. an ability to get a complete genome for $1000.

The core of the finding, by the way, is that the pooled data that everyone thought was completely safe for privacy point of view, is now no longer so. It is a problem for people who have agreed to take part in these studies (and that's a lot of people: a typical large scale study can involve 20,000 patients or more).

spent two years working on DNA analysis techniques... We, by which I mean the DNA analysis crowd
For what's it's worth, I've spent the last 15 years working on various DNA analysis techniques. I don't know about your "crowd", but the general genetics community takes issues of privacy quite seriously.

more than 6 years ago



Identifying a culprit in a bloodbath

worromot worromot writes  |  more than 6 years ago

worromot (1182275) writes "A group of geneticists published a method to determine if a given individual's DNA was present in a mixture (e.g., in a pool of blood on a carpet). An individual's DNA can comprise less than 1% of the mixture. (The article is in open access on PLoS Genetics website: http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1000167)

While this is a potential boon for forensics, there are more immediate worries about the privacy of the participants of the genetics studies that had been under way for many years. As Science magazine writes:

The discovery that a type of genetic data that is widely shared and often posted online can be traced back to individuals has prompted the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust to strip some genetic data from their publicly accessible Web sites and NIH to recommend that other institutions do the same.

The gravest worry was that an individual who had someone's genetic code could determine, based on the pooled data, whether the person participated in a disease study and whether they were in the disease group, or thereby glean private health information. NIH plans to ask institutions that have posted pooled data on their own Web sites to take these down, too.



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