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deCODE Genetics, a company known for mining the DNA of Iceland’s population to find links between genes and diseases, has hit a snag. As Science reports in this week’s print issue, a national agency that oversees data privacy in Iceland has rejected a request from deCODE to allow it to apply computational methods to the country’s genealogical records to estimate the genotypes of 280,000 Icelanders who have never agreed to take part in the company’s research and link the data to hospital records. [1]

Led by founder and CEO Kári Stefánsson, deCODE set out in 2006 to combine Iceland’s extensive genealogical records with genetic data and also health records for all citizens to discover disease genes. After it failed to receive legal approval to use the health records without consent, deCODE instead built a research database using DNA and clinical data for more than 120,000 research volunteers. The company has published a slew of papers in top journals tying specific genetic mutations to risks of diseases, but has also weathered bankruptcy. Last December, Amgen purchased the company for $415 million.

After science has battled hard against common logic (won) and ethics (won), now it is fighting the next big fight against Law. A last minor obstacle to the road of full domination…

Do you really think you own your genes? Give it some time…

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