Will other people's DNA samples put your privacy in jeopardy?

A method made by Stanford University scientists could be used by UK police experts claim

When police find a DNA sample that does not match anyone in their database, a criminal investigation can come to a dead end.

The researchers said that there are several public genetic databases that contain DNA information.

Users of the platform can create family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search billions of global historical records, among other features.

Dave Curtis, who is an honorary professor at UCL's Genetics Institute and the Centre of Psychiatry at Queen Mary University of London, said: "This could be easily done in the United Kingdom, it's very doable, all it takes is for people to make a genetic profile on these databases and agree to be contacted by people who match with them".

For the study published Thursday, researchers analyzed the DNA data of the 1.28 million people in the MyHeritage database.

Unlike GEDMatch (1.1 million files), other sites like Ancestry (10 million) and 23andMe (5 million) are not open to public searches.

Rosenberg hopes his study "will help catalyze a conversation among many different stakeholders in forensic genetics, genetic privacy and ancestry testing".

This is all done through a technique called long-range familial search, which allows researchers to match an anonymous individual's DNA to distant relatives.

"We found that once a genetic database covers roughly 2 percent of the adult population, a match of a third cousin or closer is expected for nearly all persons of interest", Carmi said in a statement. Third cousins share great-great-grandparents.

Parabon's researchers work assiduously using publically available data (genealogy websites, Facebook accounts, LinkedIn profiles, obituaries, etc) to rebuild family trees and identify possible suspects. That's limited enough that police could zero in with further investigation, Erlich said.

Erlich and his co-authors suggested that such searches could cast a broader net in the near future.

They were able to find third cousins or even closer relatives for 60 percent of those with mostly European ancestry. So the team checked to see how many relatives on the order of a third cousin or closer they could find for each individual in their data set.

"Because the average person has so many of these distant cousins, it becomes reasonably probable that one or more of them is in a publicly searchable database, even if only a small fraction of the USA population is included", Graham Coop and Michael Edge of the University of California, Davis, wrote in a statement to The Associated Press.

"The fact that most suspects could be identified in this way is predictable" from mathematical calculations, and the new paper provides a convincing demonstration, they said.

Overall, the report suggests that clear policies for law enforcement in using long-range familial searches, and respecting the autonomy of participants in genetic studies, are necessary components for long-term sustainability of the genomics ecosystem. And under what circumstances should they be permitted? You never know, someone might be able to track you down just because you fourth cousin whom you've never heard of took a consumer DNA test.

A scientist at Israeli genealogy firm MyHeritage has published a paper revealing that public genealogy databases can identify relatives - third cousins and closer - in almost two-thirds of people of European descent.

While it might be too late for the people in the 1000 Genomes project to lock down their DNA data - "it's been downloaded maybe tens of thousands of times by labs around the world", Dr Erlich said - there's a reasonably simple way to stop people from misusing sites like GED-match. "But you still have some invasion into that person's personal life by being investigated". Since then, debate has swirled around the ethics of using genealogy websites to aid in forensic investigations.

So what do people think about police using genealogy databases to close in on potential suspects?

A United States survey published last week found most respondents supported the practice, particularly when the objective was to identify perpetrators of violent crimes and crimes against children.

Related News:

  • Auto  groups condemn grant cuts for electric and hybrid vehicles

    Auto groups condemn grant cuts for electric and hybrid vehicles

    The RAC's head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the move was "a major blow to anyone hoping to go green with their next vehicle choice".
    Amazon-Flipkart register record sales in Festive Sale offer

    Amazon-Flipkart register record sales in Festive Sale offer

    This means that the company has so far surpassed this target and it has completed sales of 55 hundred crore rupees. "We see them [ Amazon ] as becoming a global platform for premium Indian books and home goods buyers", said Mr.
    Seann Walsh's girlfriend breaks silence on comedian's romance with Strictly partner

    Seann Walsh's girlfriend breaks silence on comedian's romance with Strictly partner

    The bookies' spokesperson said: "The odds suggest that Seann will struggle to get enough votes to be out of the bottom two". Seann, 32, who was dumped by Rebecca in a brutal tweet on Monday, has promised to carry on in Strictly .
  • Fracking Can Go Ahead In Lancashire

    Fracking Can Go Ahead In Lancashire

    The high pressure forces tiny naturally occuring fissures in the rock formation to open and release natural gas which is trapped. Fracking for shale gas can begin for the first time in the United Kingdom since it was linked to causing earthquakes in 2011.
    Hunter shoots and kills cyclist in French Alps

    Hunter shoots and kills cyclist in French Alps

    A 13-year-old boy was mistakenly shot by his grandfather with a shotgun during the first few days the hunting season last year. Accidental hunting deaths are not irregular in France, with 18 occurring in 2016.
    Can you help prevent breast cancer? || Ayesha Shafiq

    Can you help prevent breast cancer? || Ayesha Shafiq

    Just past year the SOMC Cancer Center opened its Breast Center addition on the lower level of the facility. Ultrasound may be used to determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
  • 12 killed as blast targets election rally in Afghanistan

    Ahmadzai said seven others were wounded in the attack late Friday, which took place in Mohammad Agha district. The Taliban called the polls a US-manipulated event to further their hold on the country.
    Air pollution linked to heightened mouth cancer risk

    Air pollution linked to heightened mouth cancer risk

    Increased levels of particulate matter were linked to an increased risk of oral cancer by 43% compared to lower levels of PM2.5. During this time, the doctor asked 1,600 people with cancer of the oral cavity, reports the Journal of Investigative Medicine .
    Prince William: Save rhinos for the next generation

    Prince William: Save rhinos for the next generation

    Funding consists of £3million from the UK's department for worldwide development and £0.5million from the foreign office. The royal also says the fight to end wildlife crime can no longer be a priority only for conservationists.
  • Deeply pained to be gripped into #MeToo: Subhash Ghai

    Deeply pained to be gripped into #MeToo: Subhash Ghai

    The post further read, "One evening after a music session it became late again and he made a decision to have a drink. He pretended to weep, and put his head on my lap. "I was shocked and left for the day", the woman narrated.
    Turkish newspaper names 15 Saudis in case of missing reporter

    Turkish newspaper names 15 Saudis in case of missing reporter

    Sabah newspaper published the names and years of birth of 15 Saudis it said arrived at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2. Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in the United States since past year fearing arrest.
    Prime Minister rules out customs union option after Brexit

    Prime Minister rules out customs union option after Brexit

    The Observer said it was one of several emails it had seen that had been "leaked from the highest levels of government". European Union leaders will meet next week to discuss the terms of the Brexit deal.

Most liked

Andrew Benintendi is at Fault for Red Sox's 5th-Inning Meltdown
Yes, he kept the game within reach but a normal outing from Sale does not come close to approaching that level of inconsistency. Both of these incidents took place at around the same time and he has not had similar outbursts that we know of.

Trump on Mattis: 'Everybody Leaves' at Some Point, That's DC
He said he's entitled to staff shakeups and has "phenomenal" people on standby to come work for his administration. Trump said the two maintained "a very good relationship", but he allowed for the possibility Mattis would leave.

Mortgage rates leap to 7-year highs; 30-year at 4.9 percent
Interest rates on Treasury bonds have climbed to the highest levels in seven years as their prices have dropped. As anxiety over higher rates spiraled, financial markets around the world suffered a massive sell-off.

22 migrants die in truck crash in Turkey
Twenty-two people were killed, the agency said, lifting an earlier toll of 19, while 13 more were injured. Turkey is a key transit point for migrants from Middle East, Africa, Asia who seek a new life in Europe.

Nearly 800 Dietary Supplements Contained Unapproved Drug Ingredients, Study Finds
According to data, the FDA sent warnings to the companies, with 28 products being named twice or thrice as adulterated products. Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA's satisfaction before they are marketed.

Federer fires to join Djokovic in Shanghai semis
If Coric wins Sunday's showdown, he will have beaten all of the "Big Four": Djokovic , Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray . Djokovic , this year's Wimbledon and US Open victor , will next face Germany's Alexander Zverev in the last four.

Based beauty brand Deciem to close all stores, founder says
Deciem grew at such a fast rate that Estee Lauder acquired a stake, and now holds a 28 per cent minority share in the company. The home page of the Deciem site has since been replaced with a black background and a pi symbol.

Pixel Camera app gets external mic support alongside Pixel 3 launch
It seems Google made the right call of offering a high-end smartphone experience in two different sizes with very few compromises. Reviewers are likely to spend a lot of time confronting the new Pixel 3 camera with other leading cameras.

Newlywed Princess Eugenie stuns in reception dress
During her ceremony, Eugenie stunned in another long-sleeve gown designed by Peter Piloto . Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's wedding took place Friday morning in St.

C-section births rise rapidly to more than 20 percent worldwide
There is an urgent need for intervention in the medical field to reduce the use of cesarean sections, the researchers said. But in close to a quarter of nations surveyed, caesarean section use is significantly lower than average.

Princess Eugenie didn't change into second dress for wedding reception
And not only did she change up her outfits, but Princess Eugenie also let her hair down for the evening event. Queen Victoria's Wheat-Ear Brooches were originally commissioned by William IV in 1830 for Queen Adelaide .

Marvel's 'Iron Fist' Series Canceled by Netflix After 2 Seasons
The news of Iron Fist's cancellation was reported by Deadline , which was given a joint statement by Netlix and Marvel Television. The second season was much more warmly received after switching showrunners, but apparently that wasn't enough to save it.

Gold inches up as retreat of bond yields weigh on dollar
US crude oil futures dropped 0.5 percent to $74.61 a barrel and Brent crude futures eased 0.2 percent to $84.80 a barrel. The dollar dipped due to a fall in USA bond yields after touching a seven-week peak against a basket of currencies.

Trump vows 'severe punishment' if Saudis killed Jamal Khashoggi
I tell you want I don't want to do - Boeing , Lockeed, Raytheon , all those - I don't wanna hurt jobs. "There's a lot at stake". Trump isn't saying what that could be, but says he doesn't want to cut off American military sales to Saudi Arabia .

Jamal Khashoggi's Fiancée Pens Obituary-Style Op-Ed For Missing Saudi Writer
Saudi Arabia has strongly denied this but has failed to explain the journalist's fate after entering its consulate building. Khashoggi was last seen on surveillance footage entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.