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Personalized Genetics: Privacy and the Virtual Gene

Here is the regular post about the recent improvements of individualized medicine. This week, T. Ryan Gregory at Genomicron attempted to define the term genome. While The New York Times tried to redefine disease, genes and all.

What if a unauthorized person get access to the 23andme database? He will have a lot of information about many people. Ok, they can use strong encrypting algorithms but we know there is no 100% secure system. Maybe providing a anonymous service as Keyose this problem could be nearly totally prevented.

But this is not the only problem. Not at all!. What if I just take some of the spit of my new partner or my employee and send it to 23andme pretending to by my own spit? Then I could access to the genomic information of a third person without his/her permission. That sounds not really funny!

Google and Microsoft together on medical health records:

And if you’re fed up with these news about the personalized genetic companies, send a virtual gene to your friend in Facebook.

More here.

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9 Comments Post a comment
  1. The problem with the Keyose Blog’s privacy concern (i.e. gathering DNA from a third person) is that 23andMe collects 2.5mls of saliva for the test, and that’s a lot of spit to collect from another person without them noticing! And if you watch the buccal collection video at deCODEme, I doubt you’ll be able to do that collection on an adult without raising an alarm. In my opinion, the analysis of another person’s DNA by companies such as 23andMe and deCODEme without their knowledge is nearly impossible at this stage of technology (now when we can sequence an entire genome from a single cell, then it will likely be a concern).

    May 7, 2008
  2. RMD #

    and he is right, there is no 100% foolproof security system for…well anything really. Your health records, your financial information, your retirement fund, none of it is ever going to be totally secure (although if you read 23andme or any other company in this space’s privacy policies they seem to have pretty robust security systems in place). I think the bigger question is that, should someone take this information, what exactly might they do with it?

    May 7, 2008
  3. The answer to RMD’s questions is…..things you couldn’t even imagine yet. As for single cell collection…..I think the FBI and police are doing a pretty good job of collecting DNA from coffee cups…… I am certain someone can SNP chip that. The real question we should be asking is why does 23andMe want all that spit??????
    -Steve
    http://www.thegenesherpa.blogspot.com

    May 8, 2008
  4. Leroy Glinchy #

    First of all to collect DNA from people in my neighborhood is dead easy. There’s this guy that walks up and down the street at five AM spitting everywhere. There’s more than a few mL of spit on the streets.

    Secondly, why the hell does the whole IP thing only work for corporations? I own the deed to the house I live in. Why don’t people own the deed to the letters of their own genome? I don’t have to fill out paperwork to get the right to free speech nor ownership of my person (I’m not a slave). Why is the govt making own genome into a slave to a third party? When do my genes become liberated and under the control of my gray matter? After all, it’s _my_ property unless we live in some kind of totalitarian regime.

    Oh wait! ;)

    May 8, 2008
  5. RMD #

    Steve,
    thanks for clarifying

    Oh wait! ;)

    May 9, 2008
  6. Fantastic looking site! I have a site as well but unfortunately I’m

    August 29, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Medical Quack: Personalized Genetics: Privacy and the Virtual Gene
  2. Gene Genie #32 - Googling the Genie | Highlight HEALTH
  3. Universal Health » Gene Genie #32 - Googling the Genie [Highlight HEALTH]

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