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

So many people have had their DNA sequenced that they've put other people's privacy in jeopardy

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:

  • Review about Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

    Review about Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

    Both smartphones possess a 12.2 MP dual-pixel camera at the rear and an 8PM at the front, and are equally capable of 4K video. The Google Pixel 3 XL is characterized by the presence of notch on its screen, something not everyone likes.
    Gold inches up as retreat of bond yields weigh on dollar

    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.
    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.
  • Tianjin Open: Karolina Pliskova eases past Katie Boulter to reach semis

    Tianjin Open: Karolina Pliskova eases past Katie Boulter to reach semis

    Bacsinszky deployed the full range of her ground strokes to reach her first WTA semi-final since the French Open past year . She will play Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinals after the Swiss upset No. 4 seed Aryna Sabalenka in two tight sets.
    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".
    Beto O'Rourke racks up record fundraising haul in Texas Senate bid

    Beto O'Rourke racks up record fundraising haul in Texas Senate bid

    What's happened is that online fundraising has leveled the playing field and even marginal candidates can now raise a lot of cash. Mica Mosbacher, a GOP fundraiser in Texas, said Cruz's conservative message will trump money in Texas.
  • 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.
    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.
    Jamal Khashoggi's Fiancée Pens Obituary-Style Op-Ed For Missing Saudi Writer

    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.
  • Mortgage rates leap to 7-year highs; 30-year at 4.9 percent

    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.
    Based beauty brand Deciem to close all stores, founder says

    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.
    Trump vows 'severe punishment' if Saudis killed Jamal Khashoggi

    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 .

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.

Statue of Revolutionary War general given googly eyes by prankster
Others couldn't help chiming in with all sorts of googly eye-inspired puns. "Never mind. Up close, though, they rendered Greene's monument nearly comically alive.

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.

Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews continues torrid start, notches 10th goal
Since 1987-88, no player in Maple Leafs history had scored more than seven goals in the team's first six games. Matthews, who added an assist, has scored a goal in all six games this season and has multiple points in each.

Khawaja, Head keep Australia steady in chase of 462 against Pakistan
The Queensland batsman has also had to battle critics closer to home despite averaging nearly 60 in Australia. Australia had gone into the final day with hope of batting through it and taking something out of the Test.

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.

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.

Molinari Takes Aim At European No. 1 Spot After Ryder Cup Heroics
Certainly, neither will ever be found wanting for self- confidence but there's nothing wrong with that when you can back it up with deed.

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.

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 .

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
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 .

Malaysia begins by-election vote to pave for Anwar's return
Pakatan leaders, including Mahathir, have affirmed that the coalition's leaders had made an agreement that Anwar would succeed Mahathir as prime minister.

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 .

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.