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Study Predicts Appearance From Genome Sequence Data

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-09-05 20:39:32
Science

Anonymity continues to die [genomeweb.com] a little every day:

The physical traits predicted from genome sequence data may be sufficient to identify anonymous individuals in the absence of other information, according to a study set to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

After looking for links between physical phenotypes and whole-genome sequence data for more than 1,000 individuals from a range of ancestral groups, researchers from the US and Singapore took a crack at predicting biometric traits based on genetic data with the help of a newly developed algorithm. In a group of de-identified individuals, they reported, the algorithm made it possible to identify a significant proportion of individuals based on predictions of three-dimensional facial structure, ethnicity, height, weight, and other traits.

"By associating de-identified genomic data with phenotypic measurements of the contributor, this work challenges current conceptions of genomic privacy," senior author Craig Venter, of Human Longevity and the J. Craig Venter Institute, and his co-authors wrote. "It has significant ethical and legal implications on personal privacy, the adequacy of informed consent, the viability and value of de-identification of data, the potential for police profiling, and more."

[...] [Genome] sequences [...] are not currently protected as identifying data under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's Safe Harbor method for ensuring anonymous and de-identified patient information.

Previously: Creating Wanted Posters from DNA Samples [soylentnews.org]

Related: EFF to Supreme Court: The Fourth Amendment Covers DNA Collection [soylentnews.org]
Kuwait Creating Mandatory DNA Database of All Citizens, Residents--and Visitors [soylentnews.org]
Massive DNA Collection Campaign in Xinjiang, China [soylentnews.org]
Routine Whole Genome Sequencing: Not Scary? [soylentnews.org]


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