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To Get a Million

Starting this coming Sunday, the US National Institutes of Health will open up wider enrollment into its All of Us research program, as GenomeWeb has reported.

The program aims to recruit 1 million Americans from various backgrounds who are willing to provide DNA samples as well as electronic medical record, survey, and other data. The ultimate goal of the project is to enable personalized medicine. This Sunday, community events are to be held at seven spots throughout the country, the Washington Post adds.

But as the Post notes, this recruitment push comes as at time of increased concern regarding data privacy. Law enforcement officials last week revealed that they relied on searching a genetic genealogy website to track down a suspect in the Golden State Killer case. NIH Director Francis Collins and All of Us project director Eric Dishman tell the Post that safeguards will be in place to protect volunteers' information and that it will not be available to law enforcement, even if there are search warrants or subpoenas.

Tiffany Li from Yale Law School’s Information Society Project tells the Post that she doubts that the database can be completely shielded from authorities, and Dishman acknowledges the database can't be 100 percent hacker-proof.

Last September, NIH's Collins said he'd be among those signing up when enrollment opened up in the spring, even though he'd already had his genome analyzed.