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Under Lock and Key?

Because it may be near impossible to keep genetic information private, some researchers are calling for the creation of centralized database with tight access controls, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

DNA databases, it notes, have helped arrest individuals in a number of cold cases, including the Golden State Killer case. Investigators have used the GEDmatch database in similar cold cases, and FamilyTreeDNA has said it has provided the US Federal Bureau of Investigation access to its database. But as Bloomberg Businessweek writes, provides law enforcement with access to about 2 million individuals' genetic information, in addition what's in criminal databases, and opens up the possibility for abuse.

While some states like Maryland are pursuing bills to ban law enforcement from using publicly available DNA databases to identify suspects, researchers at Vanderbilt University have called for a national DNA database with high privacy restrictions. "Law enforcement already has potential access to the genetic information of a large segment of the population, either directly or through a relative," Vanderbilt's James Hazel tells Bloomberg Businessweek. "There is an urgent need for additional regulation of government access to the genetic information housed in public and private DNA databases.

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