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The Boston Globe

Ideas

The DNA in your garbage: up for grabs

Drop a hair? Anyone can legally sequence your genetic material—and privacy experts want to close that gap.

Imagine you stop by a Starbucks one morning, and the shop is robbed only minutes after you leave. Witnesses say the perpetrator was drinking coffee, so investigators retrieve dozens of cups from the trash, looking for genetic evidence. When they analyze it, they may find the robber’s DNA, but they’re going to find many other people’s as well—including yours.

What can they do with that information?

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