Daily Archives: January 18, 2013


The BBC reports: Researchers have identified people in the US who anonymously donated their DNA for use in medical research – raising concerns about privacy. They could uncover a person’s identity using records of donated DNA coupled with other readily available sources of information on the internet. It was made possible because of large “genetic genealogy” databases which help people trace their family tree. The study was reported in the journal Science. There is a strong link in men between their surname and unique markings on the male, or Y, chromosome. These genetic markings are a useful tool when investigating a family tree as they are passed from father to son and are used in “genetic genealogy” databases. Researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research used this freely available data to create a computer programme which could match unique markers to surnames. This was used to hunt through an […]

Donated genetic data ‘privacy risk’