Treating ‘genetic privacy’ like it’s just one thing keeps us from understanding people’s concerns

“Genetic privacy” is a complicated concept, and a new study finds that decoding how people feel about the idea is equally complex.

Genetic data can be collected for medical purposes, like genetic testing for hereditary diseases, by the government for identification purposes, or submitted to private companies that promise to tell you more about yourself and your ancestry. But increasingly, researchers are realizing that people’s expectations for how their data might be used aren’t lining up with reality.

For a study published today in the journal PLOS One researchers analyzed 53 studies (covering over 47,000 participants) that looked at how the general public, professionals, and patients viewed genetic privacy. The results paint a…

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