The blockchain technology in genetics and science

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The blockchain technology in genetics and science
2018-10-26 in CRYPTOPEDIA

Blockchain is the technology of the future. It has unlimited possibilities and a huge potential for application in various spheres – politics, banking, finance, economics, education, science, genetics, recruiting, etc. Blockchain is the underlying technology of all modern cryptocurrencies. We often try to search blockchain wiki in order to understand the mechanism of work of the blockchain technology. Blockchain, as we understand it today, was introduced in 2009 with the idea of Bitcoin. Since 2009 it has been spreading around the world. It is impossible to understand, what is Bitcoin without understanding its underlying technology – blockchain.

Any medical and genetic information is a way to identify a person’s identity. Every year, volumes of processed and stored genetic information increase. However, the risk grows if the data can fall into the hands of the hackers and intruders.

Representatives of the global blockchain marketplace of telemedicine services WELL told about why cryptography and distributed ledger technology should be integrated into the healthcare sphere as soon as possible.

Genetic passport with blockchain

1953 was a turning point in the development of biology and medicine: the DNA-macromolecule structure was deciphered, which stores and transmits the most important information about living things – genetic. The double helix of this biopolymer was described by scientists Francis Crick and James Watson, who received the Nobel Prize nine years later, in 1962.

Could they then know that half a century later their achievement would become the object of the cyber-theft?

In simple terms, DNA is defined as a sequence of molecules (nucleotides), where information about the genome is stored in the form of a specific code.

This unique code is investigated in determining the relationship, diagnosing a number of diseases and even in forensics – to identify the offender. And this is not to mention the numerous scientific studies in the field of biology and anthropology.

DNA samples are valuable information. In fact, DNA personalizes a human the same way as a passport, driver’s license or bank account number.

DNA technology is developing very fast. If initially the service, i.e. (the first complete decoding of the human genome cost US taxpayers $ 2.7 billion), now hundreds of companies can do it for a very modest price. The progress is so fast that nowadays you can even buy yourself a portable sequencer that connects to a laptop and turns the process of decoding the DNA into literally children’s fun. And all the information goes to the worldwide network.

Genomic Bank: a safe place without the code

In many countries, including Russia, there are DNA databases, genomic banks and storage facilities that are used to study diseases, search for cancer drugs and other studies. The volumes of processed and stored genetic information are estimated in hundreds of petabytes (1 million gigabytes) per year, and the rates are growing at an astronomical rate. Thus, creating the danger that some of the data stored on centralized servers can fall into the hands of hackers and intruders. The information became vulnerable. According to IBM Security research only in the United States, the cost of damage from the theft of medical data is almost $ 6.2 billion per year. And this is the costs and reputation of the hospital administration and payment of insurance companies. Every year, the number of leakage cases, and with them the amount, is increasing.

Hardly any person seriously realizes the potential harm of such a leak: after all, DNA or a medical history is not a credit card or even an Apple ID password. Any medical and genetic information is a way to identify your personality. As for DNA, you can say for sure: your sample is unique and priceless. And it is worth keeping it at least for future generations, in the form of a protected cipher.

Spirals, chains

Recollect once again the definition of DNA. Encoded sequence. Encrypted chain. The technology of blockchain, which is rapidly capturing new areas of our lives, offering a panacea for all problems.  Security, integrity, and transparency – all this can give the storage of genome data in a decentralized network of blocks.

Information is not on one centralized server but is distributed throughout the network. Encrypted medical data cannot be read, altered (including retroactively), or stolen from outside people: unauthorized transactions are excluded. Only the patient and his doctor/clinic, without intermediaries. And the faster the network of blockchain grows, the more secure and transparent the health care system becomes.

And this is not a utopian picture of the future, which is shown in science fiction cinema, but the real technology of today. Medicine and genetics are precisely those sectors where cryptography and blockade are organically integrated.

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