I am very interested in privacy preserving technolgies, such as Microsoft PINQ and would like to see if this is applicable to DNA comparison.
Given that I don't have a background in biology, I would appreciate it if someone could tell me how DNA is represented in a computer (in computer science terms), and how DNA is compared in a binary format (or logical equivalent).
The privacy preserving technology I'm using allows the patient to have granular control over what DNA data they share, and how it's used. The receiving agency (medical research, FBI, fertility clinics) will receive cryptographic proof of a DNA result, without exposing all DNA values.
I suspect that each of the following use-cases focus on a certain subset of data, and if the same information was presented to all of them, it would be a breach of privacy:
- Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS
- State DNA index system (SDIS)
- National DNA Index System (NDIS)
- FBI's 13-Loci
- Other government's DNA matching requirements for inclusion/exclusion
- Disease susceptibility via single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and related heredity
- Paternity tests
- Evolutionary patterns
Furthermore, based on my independent research, I understand that there are many ways to determine the DNA of a given sample. What I don't understand is if every test has the same output? (e.g. are all chromosomes are returned, vs only 23? (or less))
The value-add I am trying to provide the patient privacy, while fulfilling all legal, moral, and ethical disclosures of data requested of them. The recipient will have assurance the data is authentic, despite the inherent double blinding of the field data.
The cryptography allows for
- Redacting (or black out) certain values
- Anonymously compare a numerical value, (greater than, less than, equal to) without disclosing that value.
- Prove, or verifiably disprove, that a value is not in a certain list of arbitrary values.
- The agency to know which DNA testing firm generated the results
- The DNA testing firm to not know who the patient is, especially in cases of partial disclosure of DNA data.
Your response will help me contribute what I believe to be the moral, ethical, and socially responsible way to handling PII and DNA data. (yes it will be open source)