How To Ensure Your DNA Information Remains Private
LAST UPDATED: November 10, 2022
You and your sister look so much alike!
You have your mother’s eyes!
You have got your father’s hair!
Do you also get comments like this when you meet someone for the first time or after a very long time? Have you ever wondered if this really makes sense? Is it possible to get hair and a nose like your parents? Or accent and tone like your Aunt?
Of course, it is possible! We know it might be a little tricky to believe. But don’t worry; we will explain everything you need to know about DNA and DNA Privacy in this blog.
What is DNA?
We all must have heard the term ‘DNA’ at least once in our lives. But what does it really mean? DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It carries the genetic information for the functioning and development of an organism. What does DNA look like? It is like two strands linked to and winded around each other that resemble the shape of a twisted ladder.
Before we move ahead, let’s have a look at a few facts about DNA. (weird but true facts)
1. The strands of DNA in each cell of your body would become 6 feet long if linked together. With over 100 trillion cells in the body, if all the DNA were put end to end, it would stretch enough to go from sun to the moon, SIX HUNDRED times!
2. Remember genes from the previous blog? They are basically short segments of DNA, but not all DNA is genes. Genes are about 1 to 3% of your DNA.
You can read more about genes from the previous blog here: https://blog.tryautumn.com/astonishing-insights-from-your-genes/
3. We may think we are different from one another or we are one of a kind, but every human being shares 99% of their DNA with every other human. Strange, right? But that’s weirdly true.
4. As mentioned earlier, DNA molecules are shaped like twisted ladders, and what consists of the ladder are bases – Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T). They are locked in pairs with hydrogen bonds.
While people are not aware of the facts about DNA, they have a lot of misunderstandings about it. Don’t worry; we are here to make it clear to you. Here are a few myths about DNA people believe are true.
Myths about DNA
You need blood or spit in order to test your DNA.
People believe they need to spit or give their blood in order to get their DNA tested. But that’s not the exact case. Individual DNA sequence is pretty much the same in almost every cell of the body, and thus a simple cheek swab, hair follicle, or skin sample is enough to do the job.
All siblings must look the same because they inherit DNA from their parents.
It is true that you inherit 50% of your ethnicities from each parent, but what’s not true is you don’t necessarily inherit 50% of each of their ethnicities. Let’s say your mother is 50% American and 50% Indian, it is not guaranteed you will be 25% each. The ratio can be 10:40, 20:30, or anything. This is the reason siblings get different results. Interesting, right?
Your known genealogy will be matched by your genetic Ethnicity Estimate.
For your Ethnicity Estimate to not match the ethnicities of your ancestors, there are a lot of reasons. You may not have inherited a certain amount of ethnicities passed down over generations, or you may have inherited ethnicities from ancestors you may not know about. It’s nothing we can predict.
In your Ethnicity Estimate, you will notice all your ancestors’ ethnicities.
The fact that we inherit ethnicities from the generations before is true. But, what may vary is the percentage. For instance, if your great-grandmother was part English, she may have passed it on to the next generation and then the next, and then to you. So this means you may have inherited some amount of your great grandmother’s English DNA.
Wow! Those were some amazing myths we just made clear for you. But the one thing that concerns us all is that people have a lot of misconceptions about making money from DNA. Is that really true? Well, it might be the case.
How Can DNA Help With a Health & Wellness?
For someone who began their journey to a healthy lifestyle, there are endless options – Keto, intermittent fasting, health supplements, and so much more. Oh, wait, if you are going on a Keto diet, we recommend you read this blog which will make your journey effortless and smooth. 😉
Getting back to DNA – many people are not able to achieve desired results because they don’t have access to their own genetic information. Why is it that many people are not able to achieve the same results as others? The reason is every individual is unique in their own way and has their own body type and structure.
What is DNA Privacy?
DNA Privacy is a concept that aims at preventing third parties or someone else from using an individual’s genetic data without their consent. With development and advancement in the field of science and technology, it has become easier to collect DNA samples and extract personal information from them.
Unlike other casual information, genetic information is sensitive and should be kept limited to authorized persons only. Thus special care should be taken when it comes to one’s privacy, special care should be taken so no one can breach it. With the development in genetic science, it has now become possible to conduct genetic tests through the small tissues present in the human body. The test can be performed with strands of hair or saliva on the edge of the glass. Obviously, this is done against the person’s will, making people doubt that various health organizations use DNA for monetization purposes.
How Autumn Offers DNA Privacy
At Autumn DNA, we make ourselves clear about not selling, sharing, monetizing, or making clones from your DNA. We are a health and wellness business that does not believe in making money from people’s DNA. If we have someone come to us to get their DNA checked, we collect the correct amount enough to do the process, and not for someone to buy it.
We work the ethical way, and thus we only look at less than 1% of a person’s DNA, which is in our case is just 98 Genes or 500 SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism). And once the analysis of the process is done, we destroy the physical DNA sample. We also give you the authority to download the entire data or have it deleted completely.
What else is more promising than this? Do your test without your information getting leaked or in someone else’s hands.
We at Autumn DNA follow HIPAA compliance and support the GINA Act. We know this might be something new for you to learn about, so let’s go into what they each mean.
What is HIPAA compliance?
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which was created to improve the way various organizations take care of healthcare data. Healthcare being a sensitive topic, HIPAA aims to provide the portability of information and, in turn, requires organizations to protect and secure it. This Act includes data privacy and security provisions to safeguard sensitive medical information.
The main objectives and goals around which HIPAA revolves:
- Privacy of health information
- Security of electronic records
- Administrative simplification
- Insurance portability
Taking care of a patient’s information becomes essential because it contains their medical history, past treatments, financial records, and other confidential information.
Let’s have a look at the five sections/titles of HIPAA:
- HIPAA Healthcare Insurance Reform
- HIPAA Administrative Simplification
- HIPAA Tax-Related Health Provisions
- Application and Enforcement of Group Health Plan Requirements
- Revenue Offsets
We know how sensitive your personal information can be, and thus we strictly follow HIPAA compliance and protect the following information under it:
- Patient’s name, date of birth, residential address, and biometric identifiers.
- Patient’s mental and physical condition both from the past and present.
- Any treatment or care provided to an individual.
- Bills related to any past or present treatment.
Ultimately, an organization will successfully comply with HIPAA only if they become honest with themselves first and take care of their patient’s information like their own.
Now, let’s talk about the GINA Act.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) came in the year 2008. Its purpose is to protect Americans from getting discriminated against because of their genetic information by insurance companies. This also put a full stop to insurance companies accessing their DNA information.
But, there are various misconceptions where people believe their DNA information is being misused. Here is why –
- Various data or DNA companies practice the monetization of data.
- To get through the process, an individual needs only one single test. This makes data companies sell your data as they have nothing further to sell you.
DNA may be a little too tricky to understand, but once you are well versed with it, you can find out about the habits you inherited from your ancestors, and you can also take care of your health much better than you used to. At Autumn, we sell personalized vitamins that help you in taking care of your body the right way. After all, each body is different in its own unique way and needs to be taken care of accordingly.
We also understand how important it is to keep your DNA information safe and secure, and thus we follow all the guidelines to make sure of that. With us, you can be secure about your DNA information. 🙂
Biology is the most powerful technology ever created, and we aim to make the right use of it.
Thank you for your time. We hope you enjoyed reading the blog! Come back for other interesting topics.