Genetic Privacy: Risks, Ethics, and Protection Techniques

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Big data, health, diseases, genetics, genomes, security, privacy, Hela cells, Hala sequence


In the big data era of precision medicine, personal genome sequences are becoming quickly accessed with a reasonable cost thanks to recent technological advances. We expect millions of human individuals will have their genomes sequenced for research, clinical and/or personal use in the coming years. By nature, our DNA encodes a signature of us that is marked by genetic variation reflecting our ancestry and disclosing our susceptibility to health and diseases. With the ubiquitous availability of our DNA information, genetic privacy emerges as a valid concern that needs to be carefully addressed. It is thus necessary to investigate potential risks of genetic privacy and security in order to promote and enhance data sharing and open science. In this paper, we present risks and concerns for genetic privacy, ethics and regulations on sharing genetic data, and techniques for mitigating privacy infringement and risk including differential privacy preservation and cryptographic solutions.


This article can be found on pg.47-52 of the document.

Principal Investigator: Xintao Wu

Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. This work was supported in part to X. Shi by U.S. National Science Foundation (DGE 1523154 and IIS-1502172) and to X. Wu by U.S. National Science Foundation (DGE-1523115 and IIS-1502273) and U.S. National Institute of Health (1R01GM103309).