Genomic privacy and limits of individual detection in a pool

Nat Genet. 2009 Sep;41(9):965-7. doi: 10.1038/ng.436. Epub 2009 Aug 23.


Recent studies have demonstrated that statistical methods can be used to detect the presence of a single individual within a study group based on summary data reported from genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We present an analytical and empirical study of the statistical power of such methods. We thereby aim to provide quantitative guidelines for researchers wishing to make a limited number of SNPs available publicly without compromising subjects' privacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*