08 Feb 2009
Who wants in your genes?

While I’m not all that fascinated with my genetic makeup (maybe I’m just too old to care?), many are. If you’re among those, check out Daniel MacArthur’s blog, Genetic Future, where he writes “about the genetic and evolutionary basis of human variation, and the companies trying to sell you information about your genome.”

In an aside to a post, he says

… this approach [convincing companies to enroll their employees under a share-payment scheme] allows Navigenics to tell companies what proportion of their employees are at genetic risk for obesity, diabetes, and so on. But given the incredibly low predictive power of current genome scans for these conditions (particularly obesity), how useful would this be? And how many people are willing to give their employers access to their genetic information, even in a nominally aggregated and anonymised fashion?

How long until companies will be coerced by the insurance industry, dangling the carrot of lower rates, into requiring this information? The low-hanging fruit of cigarette smoking (obvious and socially stigmatized) has already been picked, moving smokers outside, then off-campus. Perhaps obesity will be next, requiring the removal of snack machines, weight monitoring, blood sugar testing, company-approved lunches, and so on. Mississippi could be the leader here, since we’re the “most obese state.”

Just what everyone needs, a daily regimen of tests and activities customized for your genetic proclivities or failings, to make sure you are a finely tuned, performance optimized cog in the machine. I’m not exactly an exemplar for the concept, but you should be working to live, not living to work.

My mother died long ago; I don’t need another one. Neither nanny-state nor nanny-company.

image: Rna-codons-protein.png, Wikimedia Commons

Category: Life-Society, Sci-Tech
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