Genetic data may be double-edged sword

| November 9, 2012 |
Another heavyweight addresses the concerns of the burgeoning era of personal medicine: Nancy Andrews, Dean of Medicine at Duke University, spoke to students on Wednesday in a talk titled "When the Genome Gets Really Personal." Her overall stance was positive, but cautious. Andrews called the aggressive efforts to combat diseases like Hunginton's and Alzheimer's genetic techniques a "huge public health success." But she touched on darker matters like spectre of eugenics, and the danger of knowing too much. (Finding out Dad is not, in fact, dad.)

Another heavyweight addresses the concerns of the burgeoning era of personal medicine: Nancy Andrews, Dean of Medicine at Duke University, spoke to students on Wednesday in a talk titled “When the Genome Gets Really Personal.” Her overall stance was positive, but cautious. Andrews called the aggressive efforts to combat diseases like Hunginton’s and Alzheimer’s genetic techniques a “huge public health success.” But she touched on darker matters like spectre of eugenics, and the danger of knowing too much. (Finding out  Dad is not, in fact, dad.)

This account is most interesting for the student perspectives it offers in response, however:

Junior Biqi Zhang, a neuroscience major with a certificate in genome sciences and policy, has had her own genome analyzed. She said she was not worried about the results when she chose to be tested. “Things don’t run in my family, so I didn’t have any worry,” she said.

But after being tested she gained knowledge of her predisposition to some diseases.

“I do have information on certain markers related to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer,” Zhang said. “I don’t regret [taking the test]. I learned things about myself [but] they’re not serious things.”

View the original article here: Genetic data may help, or reveal too much