Oct 15/10 - Pt 3: DNA Dozen

Meet a member of the so-called DNA Dozen ... a group who wants everybody to find out what's hiding in their genetic profiles and post it all online for the world to see.


DNA Dozen - Daniel MacArthur

We started this segment with a clip from Luke Jostins. He's a British geneticist and one of the so-called DNA Dozen. They are 11 British scientists and one American lawyer. They have launched a project called Genomes Unzipped. Among other things, they are publishing their genetic profiles on the internet ... free for anyone to look at or study. They're doing it - in part - to encourage research and to demystify genetic coding. Daniel MacArthur is another member of the DNA Dozen. He was in Cambridge, England.

DNA Dozen - Katie Lingard

The Genomes Unzipped Project does have its critics. Groups such as GeneWatch UK argue that there is very personal information contained in our DNA profiles, and that there are very real concerns about the potential for discrimination from employers and insurance companies. But Paul Root Wolpe doesn't share those concerns. He's the Director of the Centre for Ethics at Emery University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Katie Lingard has a hereditary susceptibility to Huntington's Disease. Members of her family have it including her father. And that means she has a 50 percent change of developing it too.

Huntington's Disease affects people's muscle coordination and eventually their respiratory systems and their brains. And it's fatal. Katie Lingard says she has been discriminated against because of her genetic predisposition to Huntington's. She was in Toronto.

DNA Dozen - Yvonne Bombard

For many the scientific benefits of an open DNA data bank are clear. And in large part because of that, many countries - including Britain and the US - have passed legislation that protects against the kind of genetic discrimination Katie Lingard was describing. Canada, so far, has not.

Some people say they would be more willing to share their genetic profiles if there were better legal protections against genetic discrimination. Jo Anne Watton is the Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness. We aired a clip.

Yvonne Bombard started wondering about the implications of our growing interest in genetic information when she was a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. That's where she did her research for the first paper ever published on genetic discrimination in Canada. Today, Yvonne Bombard is a Post doctoral fellow in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.

Last Word - Hospital Funding Promo

We ended the program with something The Current's Jennifer Moroz is working on for Monday's program. She gets the last word today.

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