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DNA Database

February 8th, 2010 by flanews

The state has access to your babys DNA. Since 2005, The Florida Department of Health has been storing blood samples from newborns. As Whitney Ray tells us, theres no timetable for how long the sample will be stored.

Almost every parent agrees to genetic testing for their newborn. Some of those test results are kept by the state Department of Health. The DNA of babies with some genetic disorders are also kept on file, often without the parents knowledge.

Right now the DNA and blood samples are meant to be kept indefinitely. Dr. Joseph Chiaro says the Department of Health is rethinking the timetable.

Were currently looking gat the question of how long we should keep these specimens and we will probably decide that 5,6,7 years is plenty adequate, said Chiaro.

The samples are identified by bar codes with the indentifying information stored separately.

Storing the information is raising concerns about privacy, because other states with similar databases have reportedly shared information with researchers. Chiaro says Florida isnt one of them.

We have a policy that we dont share or sell any information like that. Weve never shared it with any insurance company. The only one that the info is shared with is the physician who is listed as the babys doctors, said Chiaro.

The Department Health says keeping the information allows doctors to know what diseases to test kids for as they get older. It also allows the state to see if their methods of testing are improving.

We spoke with parents this afternoon who were shocked their child’s blood samples, and in some cases DNA was being stored by the state. They asked not to be identified in our story, but said they were upset the state was storing the information without their knowledge.

Posted in Children, Health, State News | 5 Comments »

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