Sharing your prersonal genetic data may bring privacy risks for your family and descendants

DNA Strand
Image via National Institute of Standards and Technology.
[DNA testing] has become a lucrative field, and represents the fastest growing segment of the $830 million DNA lab industry….

[V]ast collections of DNA data could lead to very real advances in medicine, allowing researchers to uncover patterns and linkages across millions of genetic samples, improving their ability to diagnose and treat [disease]….

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But they also could be used — or misused — for a variety of reasons. Some experts, for example, worry that genetic information could be exploited for identity theft. Using the same databases, marketers could also target individuals with particular diseases — or in a more unnerving scenario, those whose genetic information suggests they are likely to develop certain illnesses in the future.

[A]lthough researchers and commercial companies say they anonymize genomic information before sharing it, many acknowledge that future privacy is a false promise when it comes to genes.

[“U]nlike privacy breaches in other online services where…passwords can be changed, genetic data is irrevocable — and doesn’t just apply to an individual but to all their ancestors, family and future generations,” [Jan] Charbonneau said.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Promise & Perils of Sharing DNA

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