Berenice Talamantes attends the First Youth Latin-American summit

Berenice Talamantes Becerra recently attended the First Youth Latin-American biotechnology summit (Allbiotech 2017) held in Santiago, Chile, where she presented her ideas on the challenges we face with bioanonymity.

Allbiotech 2017 is an event that brings together 100 outstanding young leaders of biotechnology in Latin America and 30 prestigious exponents to discuss the present and future challenges for the region’s bio-economy. It was great to see Berenice representing the IAE at this event.

Berenice presented in a session called the “Biohackathon”, where students were arranged in teams to propose a solution to current challenges faced in Latin America. In her session, Berenice discussed bio-anonymity and biological data. The problem with bio-anonymity is that there are no regulations explicitly defining biological data as a sensitive data. This may be a problem in the future because bio information can be stolen, corrupted, falsified, or misused. Forensics studies rely considerably on DNA identification and in some cases these can be incorrect. In some countries like the US, there is no regulation about data protection. Therefore the only way to keep your privacy is by being “invisible”. The outcome of this activity, was a talk describing the need of regulations in Latin America to allow citizens to have the right to decide to allow or prevent the use of their biological data (ancestry DNA, family tree, app store, fitbit), and if the data is going to be used, people should be informed about the purpose and reasons for which the data will be used.

Berenice believes that this is particularly important when considering the potential for discrimination based on genetic data in the near future.

Overall it was a great experience for Berenice who will return to the Americas to make her mark after completing her PhD.