Be careful not to steal the genetic material

05.06.2013

Most of us really do not like it if it is not clear who will have access to information that is not intended for outsiders and password protected photos, personal correspondence with the discussion of mutual friends and all sorts of innocent stupidity, which no one but close friends know not.

If you are concerned about the security of their personal space even at this level, then compared with the threats that await us in the near future, it's the most perfect nursery. Your DNA may be a breach of security of personal data, as in a nightmare could not dream.

It's no secret that personal genetic information is now of great interest to science, especially for biomedicine. Individual human genome has a big impact on the way the body responds to the treatment. It will take quite a few years, and doctors begin to use genetic information to treat patients.

With the proliferation of genetic medicine, of course, more people will resort to genetic tests, therefore, more genetic information will accumulate in a specific database. As a result, personal information may be at risk, because any database, as we know, can be hacked.

What could it be for information that an attacker will open your genome? While a little bit, but the situation is changing rapidly. In the near future, a man who was your genome will be able to identify your nationality, skin color, tendency to gain weight, alcohol dependence, whether you suffer from diseases such as bipolar disorder, attention deficit cindrom, the probability of cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's not to mention the fact to find out who your real father.

How quickly can I get this kind of information, it has become clear through the experiment a group of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Yaniv Erlich. Using the information in the public domain, the students were able to calculate the anonymous volunteers who donated their genetic data for the sake of science. Most worryingly, information that can help students in their search was usually posted online, even not by volunteers, and their extended family.

These distant relatives, in this case, all the men were members of websites devoted to genealogy. They uploaded data on its Y-chromosomes in a database called Ysearch, which contains data about the name and Y-chromosomes people. And as the first and last names, and Y-chromosomes are passed from fathers Ysearch base can be used as a kind of dictionary that translates data Y-chromosomes in the family, and even those people whose data in this database is not. Enter the details of someone's Y-chromosome, and you'll get the most probable name of the owner.

That is what made the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a trapped them in the hands of the genetic information of anonymous volunteers. After receiving the names, presumably belonging to the volunteers, the students got into other databases, such as PeopleFinder.com and finally identified the people. Of the ten people managed to completely "declassify" five.

The lower the cost of genetic tests, the easier it will be to get access to this information. While the threats associated with the theft of genetic data exists only in theory, but it is now necessary to think about how to protect yourself in the future.

The lesson we can learn from the experiment, the University of Massachusetts, is that each of us — patients in hospitals, research institutes and clinics offering undergo genetic testing — should relate to the storage of their genetic information with no less care than we relate to storage our personal and financial information.

In the near future, thanks to genetic information will be available about you a lot more interesting than the pics due to compromising with corporate party that you diligently protect password.

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