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Re: [Channel-talkbio] Channel-talkbio Digest, Vol 5, Issue 3

From: Mary Johnston <mjohnston@haverhill-ps.org>
Date: Mon Jan 08 2007 - 08:00:12 EST

Hi Karen,
      I respect what you are saying in regard to a genetic database
helping officials solve crimes. Perhaps only those convicted of
felonies or violent crimes should be required by law to submit to such a
database since by violation of law they have forfeited their individual
rights for a certain amount of time. However, I believe that the
average person does not want to lose the right to detemine when and if
certain information about himself/herself should be revealed. Also
while Sir Alec Jeffreys has good intentions about keeping two separate
databases: one with the genetic info and the other with the identities
of the individuals, experience has shown that security at any level in
this country has been breached. In addition, perhaps different ethnic
groups could be targeted unfairly . The U. S. government has found it
all right to listen to private conversations and tap into private
information in the name of "anti-terroism". I suspect it isn't such a
leap to suspect that some people in the government would want DNA
profiles of particular individuals and perhaps "leak " private genetic
information if it suited its purposes. Just as the risk of human
cloning is too high, so too is this path of DNA profiling a steep and
dangerous path that could potentially have very dire consequences.
Mary Johnston
    

________________________________

From: channel-talkbio-bounces@learner.org on behalf of
channel-talkbio-request@learner.org
Sent: Fri 1/5/2007 12:00 PM
To: channel-talkbio@learner.org
Subject: Channel-talkbio Digest, Vol 5, Issue 3

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: Genetic Database (Karen Blaustein)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 14:47:53 -0500
From: "Karen Blaustein" <kblaustein@haverhill-ps.org>
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkbio] Genetic Database
To: "Discussion list for REDISCOVERING BIOLOGY"
        <channel-talkbio@learner.org>
Message-ID:
 
<69BB75AAB563AB418EEB93D45855D87D0196E2B4@hps-mail.haverhill-ps.org>

The concept of a genetic database is very controversial because there
are many pros and cons to each side of the issue. On the positive side,
a genetic database on criminals could help law enforcement officials
track down and convict those individuals that have committed serious
crimes against humanity. Similarly, the database containing genetic
information can overturn judgements or help exonerate individuals that
were wrongly convicted or accused of a crime. However, what individuals
should have to submit to giving their genetic information to the
authorities? Would it only be those individuals who committed a serious
crime and convicted? Or would it be any person would was accused of a
crime, even a misdemeanor? One idea that might be feasable that was
mentioned in the Genomics On-line textbook by Sir Alec Jeffreys. He is
the scientist that first developed genetic fingerprinting in Great
Britain. He suggests "that the actual identity of each individual be
kept in a separate database with high security. Only certain
circumstances, such as a link to a crime, would justify identification
of the individual".
Of course, the cons to genetic databases include the invasion of
privacy. I think the majority of the population should have a choice on
whether they want to know if they have inherited a genetic disorder that
could shorten their life. Also, it is important that insurance
companies cannot use genetic information to deny, charge extra fees or
cancel health or life insurance policies.
In summary, I think that we should take this issue very seriously and
begin to discuss legal regulations that control the possible problems
that could develop as our technology increases.

________________________________

From: channel-talkbio-bounces@learner.org on behalf of Mary Johnston
Sent: Wed 1/3/2007 12:27 PM
To: channel-talkbio@learner.org
Subject: [Channel-talkbio] Genetic Database

I am just trying to see how others feel about this ludicrous idea of a
genetic database? I think this is a total invasion of privacy. If we
get to the point where human beings are nothing more than an aggregate
of chromosomes somewhere in a computer file, then I think we are all in
trouble as a society. I can see a lot of discrimination potentially
coming out of this. Maybe an employer won't hire someone with a genetic
predisposition for breast cancer. Maybe, insurance companies will
somehow get access to the information and raise premiums on "high risk"
people. Maybe someone will try and clone someone they are obsessed with
or stalking like a movie star. Of course, these are extreme examples,
but fundamentally I think that we should act now to pass legislation to
prevent things like this from happening in the U.S. As it is people are
stealing identities left and right using basic info. We are leaving
ourselves open to the most personal invasion there is-our very DNA
itself. I for one do not want all my genes catalogued for people to
study. If some people want to volunteer and do it then that is their
choice, but I think a national database of each person's genes is a
really bad idea. What do others think?

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End of Channel-talkbio Digest, Vol 5, Issue 3
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Received on Mon Jan 8 09:32:57 2007

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