What Will We Do With Innocent People's DNA?

Justin justin-cypherpunks at soze.net
Tue Mar 22 08:51:41 PST 2005

On 2005-03-22T15:48:19+0100, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> Link: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/21/1937206
> Posted by: timothy, on 2005-03-21 23:11:00
>    from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.
>    [1]NevDull writes "As creepy as it may be to deal with identity theft
>    from corporate databases, [2]imagine being swabbed for DNA samples as

When they take DNA samples, they use a handful of restriction enzymes
and then blot the resulting dna chains.  How do they digitize that to
enable automated searching?  What kind of tolerances do they use?  Do
they shift the blots vertically and compress or expand one of them to
get the best match?  What kinds of error margins does the digitization
process introduce?

I think privacy advocates are going overboard.  I don't like DNA
collection either, but there's no way a criminal can use southern blot
profile data from a database to either compromise the individual's
privacy or plant evidence at another crime scene.

What's disturbing is that most entities that collect DNA keep the
original tissue samples in storage.  How long will it be until full DNA
sequencing becomes cheap enough that they use it in serious cases
(murder)?  Craig Venter still has a standing offer to sequence wealthy
individuals' DNA for $1 mil, doesn't he?  Or was it a few million... I
don't recall.  They'd only need to sequence one chromosome, too, which
should reduce costs.  What's the actual cost of sequencing, per kb or mb
(basepair, not bit)?

Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who
have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for
anything else thereafter.           --Hemingway, Esquire, April 1936

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