Nature: Neanderthal DNA highlights complexity of COVID risk factors

Nature: Neanderthal DNA highlights complexity of COVID risk factors. “A genetic analysis reveals that some people who have severe reactions to the SARS-CoV-2 virus inherited certain sections of their DNA from Neanderthals. However, our ancestors can’t take all the blame for how someone responds to the virus.”

Arizona State University: Storing information and designing uncrackable codes with DNA

Arizona State University: Storing information and designing uncrackable codes with DNA. “For billions of years, nature has used DNA like a molecular bank vault: a place to store her most coveted secrets — the design blueprints essential to life. Now, researchers at ASU’s Biodesign Institute are exploring the unique information-carrying capacities of DNA, hoping to produce microscopic forms whose ability to encrypt, store and retrieve information rival those of the silicon-based semiconductor memories found in most computers.”

OneZero: The Era of DNA Database Hacks Is Here

OneZero: The Era of DNA Database Hacks Is Here. “On the morning of July 19, hackers accessed the online DNA database GEDmatch and temporarily allowed police to search the profiles of more than 1 million users that were previously not accessible to law enforcement. GEDmatch is a genealogy tool that allows users to upload their DNA profiles generated from genetic testing services like 23andMe, Ancestry, and MyHeritage and search for relatives. It took three hours until GEDmatch became aware of the breach and pulled the site offline completely. Users have to give permission for their profiles to be included in police searches, but the breach overrode privacy settings and made user profiles on the site visible to all other users, including law enforcement officials who use the site.”

BuzzFeed News: A Security Breach Exposed More Than One Million DNA Profiles On A Major Genealogy Database

BuzzFeed News: A Security Breach Exposed More Than One Million DNA Profiles On A Major Genealogy Database. “First GEDmatch, the DNA database that helped identify the Golden State Killer, was hacked. Then email addresses from its users were used in a phishing attack on another leading genealogy site.”

700 million men and boys: China builds mega DNA surveillance database (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sydney Morning Herald: 700 million men and boys: China builds mega DNA surveillance database. “Police have swept across the country since late 2017 to collect enough samples to build a vast DNA database, according to a new study published on Wednesday by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a research organisation, based on documents also reviewed by The New York Times. With this database, authorities would be able to track down a man’s male relatives using his blood, saliva or other genetic material.”

BetaNews: Ancestry. com announces COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing

BetaNews: Ancestry.com announces COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing. “With the current pandemic continuing to grow in some areas, and unemployment rising even faster than food prices, we need problem solvers. Help at this time comes mostly from doctors and scientists, but can also come from other surprising areas. If you’ve recently taken an AncestryDNA test, Ancestry.com is inviting you to supply some information that could assist in the fight against COVID-19.”

Gross overreach: Ancestry. com was right to block access to DNA database (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Gross overreach: Ancestry. com was right to block access to DNA database. “Privacy has become a naive, even passe idea in the minds of many Americans, particularly those raised in a world where social media, smartphones and the Patriot Act are the norm. But the increasing popularity of DNA testing services, in which people pay to have their DNA analyzed and stored by private companies, has set the stage for an important new battleground in the war on privacy.”

MIT News: Historic migration patterns are written in Americans’ DNA

MIT News: Historic migration patterns are written in Americans’ DNA. “Studies of DNA from ancient human fossils have helped scientists to trace human migration routes around the world thousands of years ago. But can modern DNA tell us anything about more recent movements, especially in an ancestrally diverse melting pot like the United States? To find out, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) analyzed data provided by more than 32,000 Americans as part of the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project.”

Policy Options: Indigenous DNA database should be managed by its people

Policy Options: Indigenous DNA database should be managed by its people. “There is no denying the value of DNA as an investigational tool. However, that value should be considered in the context of the relationship between Indigenous people and the Canadian government. Given the tenuous past and present relationship between Canada’s Indigenous population and the Canadian state, who controls the ‘genetic identifiers’ of Indigenous people and for what purpose should raise questions. It is time for Indigenous people to have greater control over their genetic information and how it is used.”

New York Times: N.Y.P.D. to Remove DNA Profiles of Non-Criminals From Database

New York Times: N.Y.P.D. to Remove DNA Profiles of Non-Criminals From Database. “For years, New York City has been amassing an immense local database of DNA, collecting samples not just from people convicted of crimes, but from people simply arrested or questioned, including minors. The existence of the database, which has about 82,000 profiles, has drawn fire from civil liberties advocates, who point out it is hard to get a profile erased once it is put in and argue it violates the privacy rights of many innocent people.”

TechCrunch: California Senator proposes tighter regulations on direct-to-consumer genetics testing companies

TechCrunch: California Senator proposes tighter regulations on direct-to-consumer genetics testing companies. “A state senator in California is introducing legislation designed to provide more oversight over direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies. The new regulations, introduced by Santa Ana’s Democratic Senator Thomas Umberg, builds on attempts in the California Consumer Privacy Act to regulate the ways data collected from genetic testing can be used by companies.”

BuzzFeed News: A Court Tried To Force Ancestry.com To Open Up Its DNA Database To Police. The Company Said No.

BuzzFeed News: A Court Tried To Force Ancestry.com To Open Up Its DNA Database To Police. The Company Said No.. “Ancestry.com, the largest DNA testing company in the world, was served a search warrant to give police access to its database of some 16 million DNA profiles, but the company did not comply.”

BuzzFeed News: This DNA Testing Firm Said It Wanted To Bring Closure To Families Of Murder Victims. Then It Blocked A Rival From Using Its Database To Solve Crimes.

BuzzFeed News: This DNA Testing Firm Said It Wanted To Bring Closure To Families Of Murder Victims. Then It Blocked A Rival From Using Its Database To Solve Crimes.. “Since April 2018, when the method scored its first big success with the Golden State Killer case, dozens of alleged murderers or rapists have been identified by genetic genealogy…. The fact that cops were doing this in databases set up to allow people to research their family histories, initially without users being informed, has led to a tense debate over genetic privacy. The new emails, which BuzzFeed obtained as part of an ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, highlight another flashpoint: rivalries between companies working with cops to solve highly publicized cases.”

EurekAlert: DNA extracted in museum samples can reveal genetic secrets

EurekAlert: DNA extracted in museum samples can reveal genetic secrets. “Researchers have used a vortex fluidic device (VFD) to speed up DNA extraction from an American lobster preserved in formaldehyde – with the results providing a roadmap for exploring DNA from millions of valuable and even extinct species in museums worldwide.”