Blockchain is a digital technology that allows a secure and decentralized record of transactions that is increasingly used for everything from cryptocurrencies to artwork. But Yale researchers have found a new use for blockchain: they’ve leveraged the technology to give individuals control of their own genomes. Their findings are published June 29 in the journal Genome Biology. “Our primary goal is to give ownership of genomic data back to the individual,” said senior author Mark Gerstein, the Albert L. Williams Professor of Biomedical Informatics and professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, of computer science, and of statistics and data science. Millions of people seeking insights into their ancestry or information about medical risks have already donated their genetic information to private commercial companies. Whether they know it or not, however, they also have given up control over how that information is used or sold.
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