Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Indiana University at Bloomington have developed a system for protecting the privacy of patient information in genomic databases used for medical research.

A cryptographic technique called differential privacy permits database queries for genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which try to find correlations between particular genetic variations and disease diagnoses, while reducing the chances of compromising personal health information to almost zero, according to researchers writing recently in the journal Cell Systems.

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