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Opportunities for community awareness platforms in personal genomics and bioinformatics education.

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Bianchi, Lucia 
Liò, Pietro 


Precision and personalized medicine will be increasingly based on the integration of various type of information, particularly electronic health records and genome sequences. The availability of cheap genome sequencing services and the information interoperability will increase the role of online bioinformatics analysis. Being on the Internet poses constant threats to security and privacy. While we are connected and we share information, websites and internet services collect various types of personal data with or without the user consent. It is likely that genomics will merge with the internet culture of connectivity. This process will increase incidental findings, exposure and vulnerability. Here we discuss the social vulnerability owing to the genome and Internet combined security and privacy weaknesses. This urges more efforts in education and social awareness on how biomedical data are analysed and transferred through the internet and how inferential methods could integrate information from different sources. We propose that digital social platforms, used for raising collective awareness in different fields, could be developed for collaborative and bottom-up efforts in education. In this context, bioinformaticians could play a meaningful role in mitigating the future risk of digital-genomic divide.



Journal Title

Briefings in Bioinformatics

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Oxford University Press