(STUDY FINDS) -- DAVIS, Calif. — Online services that allow users to upload their genetic information, learn about their genealogy, and identify long lost family members have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to learn more about where they came from? As more and more people continue to share their genetic information with these public databases, they may be opening themselves up to a form of data theft they probably didn’t even know was possible.
These services may be vulnerable to a few different variations of “genetic hacking,” according to a new study conducted at the University of California, Davis. By uploading certain DNA sequences, the research team say, it may be possible for hackers to collect the genomes of many people in a database or successfully identify individuals with specific genetic variants linked to traits like Alzheimer’s disease.
“People are giving up more information than they think they are,” comments professor Graham Coop in a release. Coop would go on to add that your genome isn’t like a stolen credit card, you can’t just cancel it and order a new one.
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