January 06, 2008

Bioethics: worried about worries

Science magazine reports on bioethicists being worried about rich people being worried. Were it not for the notoriety and money they get out of their alleged worries, I would be worried about bioethicists.

The story goes like this. A few rich people are paying lots of money for getting their DNA sequenced. Based on this information some of them may learn that they have an increased risk of getting some disease.
[B]ioethicists are wary. Most common disease markers identified so far raise risks only slightly, but they could cause needless worry. At the same time, some people may be terrified to learn they have a relatively high risk for an incurable disease such as Alzheimer's.
Following this logic - information leads to needless worries or to terror - one should never get a health checkup.
The rush toward personal genome sequences also sharpens long-held worries about discrimination.
Following this logic - information leads to discrimination - CVs and job interviews should be outlawed.

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