The Future of your DNA primarily aims to benefit recipients of employers, high authorities, insurance providers, healthcare, and research institutions. The information in your DNA provides many valuable applications for corporations, high authority, government, insurance companies, hospitals and research institution that can be used to discriminate, incriminate, deny services and goods, employment and promotions to you and your family. Specifically, your DNA can be interpreted to classify you and your value to a particular entity, can be sold for profits, can be used to obtain information about your family and project future desirability without your knowledge. Everyone has DNA. Because of the high potential of enormous profits, companies and interest groups find this information very compelling. We must stand to protect ourselves from economic and democracy degradation. By this I mean, the economic harm that could result in job loss, insurance policy denial, and your civil rights violated. Your economic income is directly correlated to the level of comfort and lifestyle you elect and your civil rights are dependent on viewing each person as equal to another, deserving a set a standards, as stated in our constitutional rights. Will you give all your body parts away to your surgeon? What do you consider propriety, your privacy, your DNA sequence?
The new flagship of discrimination is not what you think
Discrimination extends well beyond the platform of race, gender, economic status, and education. For example, phenotypes that may or maybe not be expressed, such as having genes that have been highly correlated to certain diseases or mental illnesses, and inclinations for addictive personalities can be a component of prejudice. Consequently, this is a matter of democracy and privacy rights that profoundly impacts our livelihood. Thus, as a student aspiring to obtain a thriving career in science research that is architectured in restoring and nourishing ethics in science research and thus securing the cascade of morality in our culture, it is immensely important to me to guard our privacy rights.
Fundamentally different from a blood analysis, DNA contains information that is unique to every individual, excluding twins. Therefore, our DNA is more than merely a sequence of nucleotides. It is who we are. Because people’s livelihood can be highly dependent on these factors, it has been an enormous concern and highly debated since the Human Genome Project in 1990.
DNA the new currency
Medical records are abundant with valuable information. Clinical research is a process that shares and seeks data information. Moreover, biopsies and blood work are excellent samples for genetics research and can be used for a variety of studies, such as infectious diseases, population genetics, and birth defects. For example, Hela, a woman with unusually prolific cells were sampled, cultured and disturbed globally unknown to her. Or, John, a leukemia patient who had his spleen removed and the surgeon, hospital and the biotech company patented the cells and sold it without his consent. The blood specimens collected from pregnant mothers and newborns can be used for research unknown to the parent(s).
No where to hide, but why should you?
Geographical and population genetics is an area where researchers have correlated certain diseases for which discrimination can result. In forensics, one can be falsely modeled and convicted of a crime. Employers can request insurance providers to provide information about you without your consent, whether it is to deny you workman’s compensation, terminate you or not employ you, despite the absence of expressing the disease of concern. Insurance policy coverage can be denied as result of discrimination.
Genetics, the frontier
Discrimination protection and debates of patenting genes resulted in new laws. For example, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 was signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 21, 2008 and in June 2013, the Supreme Court determined that DNA in its natural form cannot be patented, however synthetic DNA or cDNA is eligible. Although patenization of DNA would potentially encourage innovation for research and development, it would also hinder research as information is not shared and therefore would not accelerate progression.
Apart from the Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, GINA in Action, Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 13145, The Affordable Care Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act and states have enacted legislation. However, it is critical that we recognize that these laws like any laws have flaws, and explore them.