Reader opinion The genome register is problematic from a security point of view

Would we really be prepared for all our seemingly matter-of-fact Askers to have access to our individual DNA footprint as well?

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Kremlin to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Arriving in Russia, Macron had refused the covid-19 test because he did not want to give his DNA sample. The entire genome could easily have been analyzed from a sample taken for testing. This was reported by Reuters and the BBC, among others.

In Finland, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health organized a round of opinions on the Genome Center Act, which is being prepared at the beginning of the year. Many commentators drew attention to privacy concerns.

The ministry’s goal is for all healthcare DNA tests to be exported to a centralized genome registry. With the exception of rare diseases, genomic data have not shown any health benefits.

Combined health information is already available for secondary use without the consent of individuals. The newly established authority, Findata, will provide the information. These are already used by many pharmaceutical companies in their product development.

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The world has changed rapidly over the past week. Would we really be prepared for all our seemingly matter-of-fact Askers to have access to our individual DNA footprint as well? It cannot be made unrecognizable.

Should the need for and threats to the Genome Center and the Genome Registry be reconsidered?

Juha Kere

Professor, Stockholm

The reader’s opinions are the speeches written by HS’s readers, selected and delivered by HS’s editorial staff. You can leave a comment or read the principles of writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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