Author Affiliations: Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle.
Genome-wide association studies1 generate large volumes of results. While the strongest signals are the focus of most reports, full online publication of thousands or millions of association results has been encouraged.2 These aggregate results may be valuable for future scientific research,3 but analysts have recently shown4- 7 that the aggregate results actually may reveal information about participants. Specifically, if study participants' genetic information is available, large-scale reporting of population-level variant-disease associations enables easy reconstruction of individuals' disease states.
Lumley T, Rice K. Potential for Revealing Individual-Level Information in Genome-wide Association Studies. JAMA. 2010;303(7):659-660. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.120