Dubious sources: investigating the dark side of large human DNA databases

Yves Moreau

DNA databases in human genetics often contain data of unknown origin, collected without donors’ consent. This isn't just a research issue. Join Yves Moreau as he explains why everyone should care, as the DNA privacy of each of us is at stake.
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In the field of human genetics, extensive DNA databases are essential for research. However, many of these databases contain data of uncertain origin, often obtained without proper consent or donor information. This poses serious problems, especially for vulnerable groups including minorities: Because they are overrepresented in such databases, they are at risk of exploitation or even mass surveillance. Bioinformatician Yves Moreau has exposed these issues, focusing on marginalized communities such as the Uyghurs and Tibetans. His efforts have already prompted prestigious scientific journals to retract articles based on questionable data and pressured a major biotech company to stop sales of DNA retrieval kits in sensitive regions like Xinjiang and Tibet. Despite these successes unethical practices persist, threatening the privacy of DNA data for everyone. In his talk, Yves aims to shed light on these challenges and what is essentially at stake: our own DNA privacy.