DNA Testing and Donor Offspring

By admin on February 07, 2013

NEW Article, February 2013: NATURE: Genetic privacy needs a more nuanced
approach, Misha Angrist.

Excerpt: “…an article in Science last month raised doubts about the privacy of
volunteers who hand over their genetic data (M. Gymrek et al. Science 339,
321–324; 2013). “Oh my God, we really did this,” said Yaniv Erlich of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge to The New York Times, after
his group managed to cross-reference information from public databases to put
names to samples of DNA donated to research. One can imagine law enforcement
salivating at the prospect of turning a bloodstain into a name and address.

Yet what the scientists did is not shocking or all that new. The DNA
re-identification bogeyman has lurked at the door for years. The warning signs
were there in 2005 when a precocious 15-year-old boy called Ryan Kramer found
his sperm-donor father. Just as Erlich and his colleagues would do years later,
Kramer used a combination of Y-chromosome data — his own in this case — and
genealogical searching of public records to track down a donor dad who had
almost certainly been promised anonymity by the sperm bank.”

Read the whole story here: