Identifying Genetic Relatives without Compromising Privacy. E. Eskin, D. He, N. Furlotte, R. Ostrovsky, A. Sahai Dept Computer Sci, Univ California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.
The development of high throughput genomic technologies has impacted many areas of genetic research. While many applications of these technologies focus on the discovery of genes involved in disease from population samples, applications of genomic technologies to an individuals genome or personal genomics have recently gained a lot of interest. One such application is the identification of relatives from genetic data. In this application, genetic information from a set of individuals is collected in a database and each pair of individuals is compared to identify close genetic relatives. An inherent problem with this application and other applications of personal genomics is the issue of privacy. In this project, we propose a method for implementing personal genomics applications without compromising privacy by taking advantage of novel cryptographic techniques customized for secure and private comparison of genetic information. We demonstrate the utility of these techniques by allowing a pair of individuals to discover whether or not they are related without compromising their genetic information or revealing it to a third-party. The idea is that individuals only share enough special-purpose cryptographically protected information with each other to identify whether or not they are relatives, but not enough to expose any information about their genomes. While we focus on identification of relatives, these techniques can be applied to many areas of personal genomics.
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