Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gene sequencing

The Washington Post has a good article up today on the downward costs of gene sequencing:

(Gerald Herbert - Associated Press) In 2008, Congress overwhelmingly passed, and President George W. Bush signed, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Ron Paul was the lone dissenter. The legislation bars insurers from denying coverage or raising premiums on individuals who show a genetic predisposition toward particular diseases. 

That's pretty interesting.  We have a clear indicator that someone is more predisposed to getting sick, and we're not allowed to charge them more for insurance, even when it's clear that the likely cost of their lifetime health care is higher...

Think about car insurance.  The better your grades are, the better your driving record, the older you are, what kind of car you all determines how much you pay in insurance, because it's the expected expenditures, plus admin and profit.

But now with genetic screening, what if we can say that someone will have a lower intelligence, or proclivity to crime.  To what degree can the government say that that person should be sterilized?  Or that person shouldn't even be born in the first place?

If we can fully determine someone's genetic potential, but not have the potential to change it, then it will clearly strike at the heart of the meme of equality that's at the heart of our polity. 

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