The growth of home DNA testing has opened up an opportunity for genetic hacking, research finds.
Online services such as GEDMatch, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA have become popular places for people to upload their genetic information, research their genealogy, and find lost relatives. They have also been used by law enforcement to find criminal suspects through a DNA match with relatives.
Now, researchers warn that these "direct to consumer" services could be vulnerable to a sort of genetic hacking. By uploading selected DNA sequences, they say, it may be possible, for example, to pull out the genomes of most people in a database or to identify people with genetic variants associated with specific traits such as Alzheimer's disease.