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Illinois IGB

Research Areas

Genomic Security and Privacy

The Genomic Security and Privacy (GSP) theme focuses on the security and privacy of genomic information. IGB currently supports a diverse collection of research themes that involve science and engineering based on genomics. These broadly include such research topics as synthetic biology, reproductive health, ecology and global change, microbiome metabolic engineering, nanotechnology, cancer treatment, and others. These areas all involve aspects of ethics and security, and many additionally involve aspects of privacy (of individuals) and confidentiality (of industrial and government data).

Recent years have seen a rise of a diverse collection of applications of genomics that have profound implications for individuals, society, and the future of mankind. Research on privacy-enhancing computer technologies for genomic data, forensic use of genomics by law enforcement and courts, and gene sequencing the DNA of skeletons (paleobiology) are all in practice. Even cases where security and privacy issues do not appear to be an immediate concern, profound issues may still emerge. Paleobiology as an example can challenge deeply-held beliefs about human origins, political succession, and the respect that should be shown to deceased ancestors. GSP will link such diverse projects through IGB and connect the researchers involved to current and emerging cross-cutting ethical considerations.