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JLeslie's avatar

Would you be willing to let science or your government have a complete map of your DNA?

Asked by JLeslie (54591points) August 28th, 2009

I was thinking about how so many people are afraid of “big brother” and don’t trust the government in the US. In some countries there is more of a trust by the people, and see a relationship with their government. What popped into my head was the Iceland genome project. If you are not aware, a large portion of Iceland’s population is participating in a project to help map out characteristics and diseases in our DNA that can potentially help all of us. They were an ideal population, because they are very homogenious so variations in the DNA will be more obvious when studying people with certain characteristics or ailments.

Would you ever be willing to do something like that for the greater good? Do you think they are crazy to do it?

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25 Answers

MrItty's avatar

Maybe I’m näive, but I have no idea what the risk is. What is the downside of whatever entity knowing my DNA? What can they learn about me from it? They’d know my physical characteristics, obviously. My parentage. Okay. But nothing about me, my personality, my history, what I’ve done, what websites I visit, who my friends are, how much money I make, etc.

Not understanding the problem.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrItty Theoretically if they find the genetic markers for certain diseases it would be on record somewhere that maybe you are highly likely to develop certain diseases, which could affect your ability to get health insurance, life insurance, etc.

If you go down the worst case scenerio Hitler route, they might forbid you to reproduce or something extreme because of a persons inferior DNA .

wundayatta's avatar

I’d let science do it. They have to get IRB approval first (attempts to assure safety of human subjects). I’m not sure I’d let the government do it.

whitenoise's avatar

I would let them have a go at my profile after I’m dead. (And only by scientists under condition of privacy for my children.)

While alive… well only when I would feel 100% guaranteed that whoever gets my profile will not abuse the knowledge.

Lupin's avatar

Sign me up!

jrpowell's avatar

I would do it as long a no private information was collected. Swab my mouth and stick it in a bag without any labels.

ragingloli's avatar

only if they agree to make me a clone.

Jayne's avatar

@JLeslie; did you see @nikipedia‘s answer? Sure, I’d do it for science, and perhaps for the government if they had a good reason (although I’m not sure what that would be. A forensic database, perhaps? In which case maybe not, in case I decide to commit a crime somewhere down the road :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Jayne Yes. But people like my mother would never trust it. She would worry about a law changing or something bad happening.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would do it in a heartbeat, if it was free and if they don’t put a claim of ownership on my DNA, the way I have read some pharmaceutical companies are doing.

drdoombot's avatar

One day, when the world has been destroyed due to nuclear winter/ozone depletion/killer bees, and the aliens come looking for the life that used to inhabit the planet, there’s a fairly good chance they’ll find government records of my DNA. Or at least a better chance of finding those records than my bones…

Then I can live on as a clone!

JLeslie's avatar

@drdoombot Why do have to mention bees—freaks me out! I don’t have any flowers around my house to keep the bees away :).

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’d be willing to take part in this because it is for the greater good. If, on the other hand, it had nefarious leanings for purposes such as eugenics, I would be uncomfortable with it and I would not participate.

hearkat's avatar

If I could anonymously leave it after I die (so there would be no implications of my offspring) I would donate to science.

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

If they were sectioned off from one another, I would choose the government. There are some corrupt scientist out there. I would rather someone that doesn’t know much about my chemistry, then someone that does. They both can be evil and selfish at times.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Yeah, I want a clone.

Jeruba's avatar

I think I’d let the government of Iceland have a picture of my DNA.

Zuma's avatar

Absolutely. The Government already has your DNA if you live in California. All newborns are given a heel-stick and a drop of blood is taken and stored on a piece of blotter paper. This data has been piling up for decades, but it is seldom analysed because there isn’t enough blood taken to do much with, and because it is so expensive to sequence DNA. Moore’s Law applies to the cost of DNA sequencing just as it does to the cost of electronic components; so it may become feasible to large scale studies.

The last time these were looked at was during the mid-1980s, to get a sense of when and how HIV was moving into various populations. As @daloon says, any such study has to go before a Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, which ensures that there is no way people can be harmed by these studies. Unfortunately, sequencing someone’s DNA isn’t of much use unless you know who they are, what diseases they have had, and what environmental and behavioral risk factors they’ve been exposed to. The collection of such information would require informed consent. As you can imagine, it would be pretty expensive to track down all these individuals and collect all their histories. This is why it won’t be happening any time soon.

The HIV studies were blind samples, and the data were aggregated, so there was no way of identifying any particular individual.

Jeruba's avatar

If you live in California, or if you were born in California? Not the same thing.

Zuma's avatar

Born (I forget that other people move here).

Jeruba's avatar

just look around . . .

chelseababyy's avatar

Oh my God. Absolutely NOT. I would never ever do that.

mattbrowne's avatar

Only as a totally anonymous sample among many.

Draconess25's avatar

@chelseababyy Finally someone who agrees with me!

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