Sunday, August 27, 2017


A cryptographer and a geneticist walk into a seminar room. An hour later, after a talk by the cryptographer, the geneticist approaches him with a napkin covered in scrawls. The info cryptographer furrows his brow, then nods. Nearly two years later, they reveal the product of their combined prowess: info an algorithm that finds harmful mutations without actually seeing anyone’s genes.

The goal of the scientists, Stanford University cryptographer Dan Bonehand geneticist Gill Bejerano, along with their students, is to protect the privacy of patients who Tokyo have shared their genetic data. Rapid and affordable genome sequencing has launched a revolution in personalized medicine, allowing doctors to zero in on the causes of a disease and propose tailor-made solutions. The challenge is that such comparisons escorts typically rely on inspecting the genes of many different patients—including patients from unrelated institutions and studies. The simplest means to do this is for the caregiver or scientist to obtain patient consent, then post every letter of every gene in an anonymized database. The data is usually protected by licensing agreements and restricted registration, but ultimately the escorts Tokyo only thing keeping it from being shared, de-anonymized or misused is the good behavior of users. Ideally, it should be not just illegal but impossible for a researcher—say, one who is hacked or who joins an insurance company—to leak the data.
When patients share their genomes, researchers Escort Tokyo managing the databases face a tough choice. If the whole genome is made available to the community, the patient risks future discrimination. For example, Stephen Kingsmore, CEO of Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine, encounters many parents in the military who refuse to compare their genomes with those of their sick children, fearing they will be discharged if the military learns of harmful mutations. On the other hand, if the scientists share only summaries or limited segments of the genome Tokyo escort agency , other researchers may struggle to discover critical patterns in a disease’s genetics or to pinpoint the genetic causes of individual patients’ health problems.
Boneh and Bejerano promise the best of both worlds using a cryptographic concept called secure multiparty computation (SMC). This is, in effect, an approach to the “millionaires’ problem”—a hypothetical situation in which two individuals want to determine who is richest without revealing their net worth. SMC techniques work beautifully for such conjectural examples, but with the exception of one Danish sugar beet auction, they have almost never been put into practice. The Stanford group’s work, published last week info Science, is among the first to apply this mind-bending technology to genomics. The new algorithm lets patients or hospitals keep genomic data private while still joining forces with faraway researchers and clinicians to find disease-linked mutations—or at least that is the info hope. For widespread adoption, the new method will need to overcome the same pragmatic barriers that often leave cryptographic innovations gathering dust.

Intuitively, Boneh and Bejerano’s plan seems preposterous. If someone can see they can leak it. And how could they infer anything from a genome they can’t see? But cryptographers have been grappling with just such problems for years. “Cryptography lets you do a lot of things like [SMC]—keep data hidden and still operate on that data,” Boneh says Tokyo escort. When Bejerano attended Boneh’s talk on recent developments in cryptography, he realized SMC was a perfect fit for genomic privacy.
The particular SMC technique that the Stanford team wedded to genomics is known as Yao’s protocol. Say, for instance, that Alice and Bob—the ever-present denizens of cryptographers’ imaginations—want to check whether they share a mutation in gene X. Under  Yao’s protocol Alice (who knows only her own genome) writes down the answer for every possible combination of her and Bob’s genes. She then encrypts each one twice—analogous to locking it behind two layers of doors—and works with Bob to find the correct answer by strategically arranging a cryptographic garden of forking paths for him to navigate.

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