Daily DashboardEuropean Data Protection Digest

Researchers Highlight Risks of Volunteering DNA


February 24, 2010

Current methods for sharing genetic data for research purposes pose privacy risks to those who have volunteered their DNA, Ars Technica reports. For example, researchers have designed tools making it possible to determine whether or not individuals were present in any given Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS), as well as exposing whether they belong to a population affected by a particular genetic disorder or if DNA from close family members has been used in the same experiment. With the risk of privacy breaches "likely to increase with the ever-expanding volume of genetic data available," the report stresses that researchers have an obligation to protect the privacy of volunteers in DNA studies.
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