So I’m at a concert by legendary folksinger Suzanne Vega (right) at Purchase College last week and what’s going through my head? Is it those earworm first lyrics from her “Tom’s Diner”? (You remember: “I am sitting / In the morning / At the diner / On the corner ...”) Nope; it’s the notion that sometimes I sound exactly like my mother.
If there's a medical test that could save your life, should one company have the power to set its cost so high that few people could afford it? And what if the thing that makes the company's test exclusive is a government-issued patent on a part of the human body?
Anyone who's watched more than a few episodes of Law & Order knows how easy it is to unwittingly get a sample of someone's DNA -- a discarded coffee cup, a used Kleenex, a few stray hairs and you're good to go. In Dick Wolf's world, such samples are used to catch the bad guys (or exonerate the good guys), but in real life, genetic code can reveal a variety of information, including what diseases may lurk in someone's future. This type of genetic testing -- known as whole genome sequencing -- has many useful applications. But a report released today by the presidential bioethics commission reveals that many legal issues surrounding genetic privacy have yet to be addressed.
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