How to Hide Your Genome
Science. 16 February 2014
As the cost of genetic sequencing plummets, experts believe our genomes will help doctors detect diseases and save lives. But not all of us are comfortable releasing our biological blueprints into the world. Now, cryptologists are perfecting a new privacy tool that turns genetic information into a secure yet functional format. Called homomorphic encryption and presented here today at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science, the method could help keep genomes private even as genetic testing shifts to cheap online cloud services.
John Wilbanks, a privacy expert at Sage Bionetworks in Seattle, Washington, says that while cutting-edge techniques like homomorphic encryption will improve privacy, keeping genetic information completely secure is impossible.