Gencrypt: one-way cryptographic hashes to detect overlapping individuals across samples

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Summary: Meta-analysis across genome-wide association studies is a common approach for discovering genetic associations. However, in some meta-analysis efforts, individual-level data cannot be broadly shared by study investigators due to privacy and Institutional Review Board concerns. In such cases, researchers cannot confirm that each study represents a unique group of people, leading to potentially inflated test statistics and false positives. To resolve this problem, we created a software tool, Gencrypt, which utilizes a security protocol known as one-way cryptographic hashes to allow overlapping participants to be identified without sharing individual-level data.

Availability: Gencrypt is freely available under the GNU general public license v3 at

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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