Healthbeat

Report questions genetic privacy of medical research volunteers

Friday, January 18, 2013

 

Many people who volunteer for medical research probably expect their personal information to remain private. But, in databases where genetic information is stored anonymously, it may not necessarily stay that way.

A report in the journal Science explains how researchers were able to uncover a person's identity using records of donated DNA coupled with other sources of information on the Internet.

In some cases they were able to trace volunteers' DNA back to them using an online service that helps people research their family histories.

Scientists say there needs to be a balance between making genetic data available to researchers and protecting people's privacy.

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