Navigation Links
Open source DNA

In the chilling science fiction movie Gattaca, Ethan Hawke stars as a man with "inferior genes" who assumes another's genetic identity to escape a dead-end future. The 1997 film illustrates the very real fear swirling around today's genome research fear that private genetic information could be used negatively against us.

Last year, after a published paper found serious security holes in the way DNA data is made publicly available, health institutes in the United States and across the world removed all genetic data from public access.

"Unfortunately, that knee-jerk response stymied potential breakthrough genetic research," says Dr. Eran Halperin of Tel Aviv University's Blavatnik School of Computer Sciences and Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology. He wants to put this valuable DNA information back in circulation, and has developed the tool to do it safely.

Working with colleagues at the University of California in Berkeley, Dr. Halperin devised a mathematical formula that can be used to protect genetic privacy while giving researchers much of the raw data they need to do pioneering medical research. Reported in this month's issue of Nature Genetics, the tool could keep millions of research dollars-worth of DNA information available to scientists.

New security to restart genetic research

"We've developed a mathematical formula and a software solution that ensures that malicious eyes will have a very low chance to identify individuals in any study," says Dr. Halperin, who is also affiliated with the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley.

The mathematical formula that Dr. Halperin's team devised can determine which SNPs ― or small pieces of DNA - that differ from individual to individual in the human population ― are accessible to the public without revealing information about the participation of any individual in the study. Using computer software that implements the formula, the National Institutes of Health and similar institutes around the world can distribute important research data, but keep individual identities private.

"We've been able to determine how much of the DNA information one can reveal without compromising a person's identity," says Dr. Halperin. "This means the substantial effort invested in collecting this data will not have been in vain."

Why is this information so important? Genome association studies can find links in our genetic code for conditions like autism and predispositions for cancer. Armed with this information, individuals can avoid environmental influences that might bring on disease, and scientists can develop new gene-based diagnosis and treatment tools.

A new track for government policymakers

Examining SNP positions in our genetic code, Dr. Halperin and his colleagues demonstrated the statistical improbabilities of identifying individuals even when their complete genetic sequence is known. "We showed that even when SNPs across the entire genome are collected from several thousand people, using our solution the ability to detect the presence of any given individual is extremely limited," he says.

Dr. Halperin hopes his research will reverse the NIH policy, and he will provide access to the software so that researchers can use it to decide which genetic information can be safely loaded into a public database. He also hopes it will quell raging debates about DNA usage and privacy issues.

The Tel Aviv University-Berkeley research was done while Dr. Halperin was working with the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), a non-profit research institute with close relations to the University of California (UC) and Tel Aviv University. Other coauthors of the study include Sriram Sankararaman, and Prof. Michael Jordan from UC, and Dr. Guillaume Obozinski from Willow, a joint research team between INRIA Rocquencourt, cole Normale Suprieure de Paris and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.


Contact: George Hunka
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Related medicine news :

1. The Pharma & Life Sciences Best Practice Database: an Industry Resource for Successful Techniques and Performance Benchmarks for Reaching the Top
2. Psoriasis Cure Now offers Back to School Resources for Parents of Children with Psoriasis
3. ADDAS Awareness Campaign Offers Resources and Education to Adults Living with AD/HD and Professionals Working With Them
4. MassMutual Promotes Debra Palermino to Senior Vice President of Human Resources
5. AWWA, National Association of Water and Sanitation of Mexico, Agree to Share Expertise and Resources for Improved Water Supply
6. Briefing on a new Web resource to address global drinking water crisis
7. Regional Center of Orange County Expands Family Support Resources to Meet Growing Needs
8. Recovery Resources Collaborates with Two Nonprofit Agencies for Children of Alcoholics Outreach Program
9. MEDEX Global Group & Harvard Medical International Join Forces to Create the Most Comprehensive Health Information Resource for International Travelers
10. Office-Based Medical Treatment and Internet Resources Are Potential Solution to Rising Painkiller Misuse Among Teens, Young Adults
11. Broker a Suite of Research & Advisory Services to Enhance Human Resources
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Open source DNA
(Date:10/13/2017)... Milford, NJ (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... weekend at scenic Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by ... and physical activity. The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On ... Christian identity. “America On The Brink” is the creation of published author, William ... several great-grandchildren. As a WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ), ... of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides ... while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Malvern, PA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... is the recipient of a 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best ... New York City on October 11, 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... BALTIMORE (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... average of $3,296 in property taxes a year. In some states—like New York, ... higher. , By contrast, many overseas retirement havens have extremely low property-tax rates, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... Divoti USA will engrave and process all non-coated ... latest FDA requirements, which stipulates new criteria regarding medical device manufacture ... Medical ID jewelry such as Medical ID Bracelets, can rest assured ... of the new FDA requirements . ... Divoti offers this dark mark fiber laser engraving process ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  Caris Life Sciences ® , a leading ... of precision medicine, today announced that St. Jude Medical ... Alliance™ (POA) as its 17 th member. Through ... Crosson Cancer Institute will help develop standards of care ... profiling, making cancer treatment more precise and effective. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance ... a medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for endoscopy environments. An ... technology into a clinical solution to support the improvement of patient ... Innovative Design ... Wireless Solution ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: