For those that have not watched this film I can really recommend it, for one it’s a great story and well acted, you really feel for Jude Law, well I did. It is also an interesting insight as to what might come since we decoded the human genome and to what use it may one day be put too.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions and here may be the first of those well meaning intentions. Found here are links to new services (actually after further reading the writer comes to a similar conclusion). Personal genetic decoding.
Yep. That’s right. Submit a genetic sample or more (some services can relate family inheritance) for analysis and review the results online. The primary goal of this being health related, your chances of developing particular diseases etc.
Whilst part of me says this is really cool, and it is, it is really really cool. The tendency for our species to exploit for personal gain will eventually mean that this is the tip of the iceberg.
The current decode time can be 2 – 6 weeks depending on the service provider. As this is a profit making venture the decode time will decrease and decrease as the funds are put into the R&D to bring that time down and decode for cheaper. This will eventually lead to a decoding process that is fast efficient and cheap.
So what’s the next stage? Are we almost there already? Well I’d hazard a guess that given the testing process becomes cheap and fast, and it will, that life and health insurance will be first on the bandwagon. It will be sold to us, the bulk of the population, as a cost saving exercise for the consumer, why should you ? A healthy person who doesn’t smoke and takes exercise have to pay in your premium to cover the risks of those who don’t ? For a 15% saving on your premiums why not take our DNA profiling test and reduce your costs.
Purely optional to start with of course.
The author of the original piece makes reference to employers not wanting to fork out for health insurance so sacking high risk employees. Now being British that’s less of a worry but could our NI contributions be weighted based on genetic information. We don’t see that currently but how many times have you heard on politics shows and other “talking” shows about making smokers pay a premium for NHS treatment of smoking related illnesses, or the obese, which considering the inaccuracies of the BMI is practically everyone over 25, paying more for healthcare ? If these measures come in DNA testing would not be far behind. Once you set a precedent the gates open.
Looks like it’s coming so I’ll continue to teach my son about DNA (at the age of five) believe me it’s easier to explain where babies come from in terms like this than any other way. He might take it up as a profession as I reckon there will be a lot of business in 15 years.