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Safely Access Your Genetic Profile on Your Smart Phone

By January 26, 2013

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Your DNA sequence contains all kinds of information about your risk of developing certain diseases, your reaction to certain types of drugs, genetic diseases you may carry, and a host of other traits that make you, well, you. It's your blueprint, as discussed in The Value of Personal Genomic Analysis.

However, this DNA information is, of course, highly personal. With the increasing interest in personal DNA sequencing, the question of how individuals can safely store their genetic information but also have it accessible is becoming more critical. Emiliano De Cristofaro, at Xerox's PARC Laboratories and Gene Tsudik from the University of California at Irvine, have a solution--GenoDroid--a smartphone app that contains your encoded genetic information. It keeps your DNA details secure but gives you specific information about particular genetic traits.

The application can provide common genetic test results, such as a predisposition to develop a certain disease, and compare genetic information from two individuals to assess things like paternity or common ancestry. As scientists work out a more extensive understanding of what different DNA variations mean, your genetic information will become more predictive and useful.  This application enables you to utilize this data without compromising your privacy.

As Dr. Tsudik describes in a press release from UC Irvine, "Imagine you're on a first date, you and the other person could hold up your phones, exchange tiny amounts of information and be able to tell what your children would look like. Or, more seriously, you might be able to estimate their odds of being born with something like Down syndrome."

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