Countering GATTACA: Efficient and Secure Testing of Fully-Sequenced Human Genomes

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Countering GATTACA: Efficient and Secure Testing of Fully-Sequenced Human Genomes

Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies have put ubiquitous availability of fully sequenced human genomes within reach. It is no longer hard to imagine the day when everyone will have the means to obtain and store one's own DNA sequence. Widespread and affordable availability of fully sequenced genomes immediately opens up important opportunities in a number of health-related fields. In particular, common genomic applications and tests performed in vitro today will soon be conducted computationally, using digitized genomes. New applications will be developed as genome-enabled medicine becomes increasingly preventive and personalized. However, this progress also prompts significant privacy challenges associated with potential loss, theft, or misuse of genomic data. In this paper, we begin to address genomic privacy by focusing on three important applications: Paternity Tests, Personalized Medicine, and Genetic Compatibility Tests. After carefully analyzing these applications and their privacy requirements, we propose a set of efficient techniques based on private set operations. This allows us to implement in in silico some operations that are currently performed via in vitro methods, in a secure fashion. Experimental results demonstrate that proposed techniques are both feasible and practical today.

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