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100,000 Californians To Be Gene Sequenced

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the homing-in-on-the-prius-gene dept.

Biotech 176

eldavojohn writes "A hundred thousand elderly Californians (average age 65) will be gene sequenced by the state using samples of their saliva. This will be the first time such a large group has had their genes sequenced, and it is hoped to be a goldmine for genetic maladies — from cardiovascular diseases to diabetes to even the diseases associated with aging. Kaiser Permanente patients will be involved, and they are aiming to have half a million samples ready by 2013. Let's hope that they got permission from the patients' doctors first."

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Damned sure glad... (2, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 5 years ago | (#29824787)

I don't live in California. Just what I need, some company taking and patenting my genetic sequence and suing me for using it.

Re:Damned sure glad... (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | about 5 years ago | (#29824805)

There's some prior art, I'm sure of it.

Re:Damned sure glad... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 5 years ago | (#29825639)

There's some prior art, I'm sure of it.

But was it published?

Re:Damned sure glad... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825941)

That depends on how you define "publish." I know I have many copies of my DNA, and I've even distributed some of them.

Re:Damned sure glad... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29824949)

If humanity originated in Africa and the first humans were black... and if evolution is real... then that's all the proof you need that niggers are a more primitive throwback while the white man and the asian man are more advanced. This is obvious considering that it was the white man who circled the globe with his technology and encountered the nigger in a primitive tribal state. It's also obvious considering that even today, after many generations of modern life, the knee grow still has lower test scores, lower income, and higher crime rates, much more than any racism could hope to explain. They can't help it, after all they had to be introduced to this whole civilization thing.

Re:Damned sure glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825141)

the knee grow still has lower test scores, lower income, and higher crime rates

Test scores are a predominantly US Anglo-Saxon measurement of worth.
Income is a predominantly US Anglo-Saxon measurement of worth.
Crime, when used to label blacks as criminals, is as defined by US Anglo-Saxon culture.

I can list any number of metrics on which blacks perform better, and use it to "prove" the superiority of blacks.

Re:Damned sure glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825249)

I can list any number of metrics on which blacks perform better, and use it to "prove" the superiority of blacks.

Penis size, for example. It worked on Heidi Klum! [people.com]

Re:Damned sure glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825343)

really ? do so.

Re:Damned sure glad... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826033)

Not the OP, but most obvious to me, but on such measurements as:

- Number of people killed due to aggressive warfare;
- Number of people killed due to genocide;
- Number of sovereign states invaded or toppled, and the number of people killed in these actions;
- Attempts to apply ideological politics, in the east and the west, and the number of people killed in these attempts;
- Number of weapons of mass destruction produced, and the number of people killed in using those weapons, and the hilarious justification that such weapons prevent warfare (50 years without anyone pressing the button... all we need is to make sure none press the button for another million, right?);
- Lack of community and spiritual (not in a specifically religious, but general nonmaterial sense) development;

the white man has, through the 19th and 20th centuries, demonstrated himself to be part of the most aggressive, narrowminded and cruel race on the planet. This does not mean that white men are inherently aggressive or cruel, merely that none has the right to suggest his race to be more civilised than any other.

A white map man point to a high-rise block and argue that this shows some superiority over a nation of bungalows, merely because there is some extra technical development required for the skyscraper, but he does not ask whether resident of the high-rise is happy. The most innovative men in the West enjoy space over compactness, quality over quantity, and social over technological advancement, shunning the mainstream production of their countries; it is only the idiot gaggle of middle classes who pretend that the modern white way of living is in any way bearable.

Re:Damned sure glad... (3, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#29825247)

At least get your racist history right. China had circled the globe in 1300s created the great wall of China, the still current largest man made channel, and the forbidden city, while they mapped the sky. At this time they didn't bother even trading with the Europeans because they were so much more advanced that they seemed like dirty savages. The largest fleet that Europe had at the time were Venician longboats armed with bows. Would have been easy for China to conquer them and the anchors of their ships weighed more than the European ships and the fact that they had bombs at the time.

Oh and if you go back further. Africans built great civilizations and had lots of math that the europeans stole from them. Some cities were very well educated. Timbuktu rivaling Alexandria in some respects.

Or further forwards, the inuit haven't fared nearly as well as america. Even though they are an offshoot of americans. I'm sure you made a mistake in your calculations somewhere.

Weak arguments (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826421)

Are you negroid or just stupid?

Re:Damned sure glad... (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 years ago | (#29826639)

China had circled the globe in 1300s

Citation?

In general, other than somewhat exaggerating the capabilities of non-European nations, you're correct - Europe wasn't the height of civilization back then. But don't undermine your own arguments by adding items of questionable veracity.

Also, note that even if China had been inclined to conquer Europe then, they'd have been unable to do so - the logistics situation would have been impossible.

Re:Damned sure glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826651)

And that's why the Chinese got conquered by the Brits.

Re:Damned sure glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825297)

Damn, are you professionally stupid, or is this just a hobby? Whites weren't even the first to circle the globe

Re:Damned sure glad... (1, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 5 years ago | (#29824967)

I do live in California and I know why they chose Californians for the sample: they're trying to locate the elusive gay gene. San Francisco and Cupertino residents are the test group, while the rest of the sample acts as a control group.

Re:Damned sure glad... (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29825095)

Don't consider yourself safe just yet:

"This is a force multiplier with respect to genome-wide association studies," says Cathy Schaefer, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente, a health-care provider based in Oakland, CA, whose patients will be involved...
Kaiser Permanente is meanwhile trying to expand its collection of biological samples to 500,000 by 2013.

While the scientists running the experiment are clearly doing this to actually advance research, and it will, I'm thinking someone at Kaiser is hoping this will pave the way for "You want health insurance? We just need to sequence your genome first. Oh, sorry, you're going to get Huntingtons disease. Good luck with that."

Re:Damned sure glad... (5, Informative)

SUB7IME (604466) | about 5 years ago | (#29826269)

This is why we passed GINA: http://www.genome.gov/24519851 [genome.gov]

Not sequencing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29824813)

This not (gene or genome) sequencing. Rather, it picks up single nucleotide changes (SNPs). Still valuable information, but no new mutation will be discovered with this method.

Sequencing would be a couple of orders of magnitude more expensive.

Re:Not sequencing (1)

jda104 (1652769) | about 5 years ago | (#29825337)

Agreed. I was shocked they were going to sequence that many genomes. The article is also tagged "gene expression." This research has nothing to do with sequencing or gene expression analysis; just analyzing one-nucleotide mutations in the genome.

Re:Not sequencing (4, Informative)

SUB7IME (604466) | about 5 years ago | (#29826409)

Anonymous coward is correct. This is genotyping, which is orders of magnitude less resource-intensive than gene sequencing.

Genotyping | sequencing || driving down the highway | Lewis and Clark's journey

Sequencing is pathfinding (they are not doing this). Genotyping is exploring the path that you already know is there (this is what they are doing). On the sequencing front, there is currently a 1000 genomes project - a massive collaboration of worldwide importance due to its difficulty and expense. On the other hand, genotyping 100,000 people is done all the time (heart attack GWAS, etc). The two concepts are enormously different.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (4, Interesting)

LUH 3418 (1429407) | about 5 years ago | (#29824887)

The good thing is that this kind of data will help us develop tests to predict the occurrence of many diseases, and perhaps understand their causes better.

The bad is that private insurance companies are likely to eventually *require* you to get a DNA sample, and possibly reject you if they determine your genes predispose you to old-age diseases.

Where it gets ugly, is that this will be yet another tool that could allow screening of unborn fetuses, and potentially selective abortions. I'm not personally against this. We're overpopulated anyways, but some people clearly don't like that idea.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29824943)

Which is one of the big reasons for single payer insurance and insurance that can't be denied. Single payer system would negate the benefits of excluding people based on their DNA, and instead would allow people who might have a chance of something going wrong to actually get insurance.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825067)

I wish to extend my previous comment.. It would also be highly beneficial to know your own genome. If you don't want to be sequenced because you are afraid that your insurance company might get a hold of it, regardless of what is actually in there, that is a huge impediment to your health. You should be able to know statistics based on individual genes rather than on population statistics, or racial, gender statistics. This would make possible causes of disease and treatments much more easy to diagnose and distribute. Essentially it leads to more information that leads to a better solution. But essentially we are all afraid of this information because of the fact that you can be discriminated because of it. Taking away the insurance costs for someone that has a predisposition eliminates a large reason to be afraid of this information getting out. It is amazing that we could want to keep potentially life saving information secret because it is possible to hold it against you. There have to be ways to fix this problem.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (4, Insightful)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 5 years ago | (#29826059)

Awesome. I can see it now: those who actually need health insurance will be unable to get any. Those who will be making payments for the next n decades, but rarely -- if ever -- actually obtaining any benefit from the insurance will be the only ones who will qualify for coverage.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29826419)

Those who will be making payments for the next n decades, but rarely -- if ever -- actually obtaining any benefit from the insurance will be the only ones who will qualify for coverage.

Why would anyone want that kind of coverage? What fool would buy it?

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 5 years ago | (#29826833)

That was my point: if health insurance companies are able to sequence and/or access DNA information on individual applicants, the only people who would have access to health insurance would be those who are unlikely to need it. Perhaps I should not have omitted the "lt;sarc> tag at the end of my post ;)

A slightly more pragmatic answer would be that people who were worried about acute problems -- accidents, the occasional cold, etc. -- might still buy insurance.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826427)

And in a single payer system the gene sequence would be most useful to provide data so the Death Panels could make more informed decisions. /I welcome your troll rating.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29825011)

The bad is that private insurance companies are likely to eventually *require* you to get a DNA sample, and possibly reject you if they determine your genes predispose you to old-age diseases.

Look at it on the positive side: consumers can get the same data too, and I'm sure that if they get accurate enough the people who don't actually need the insurance can either skip it completely, or go for cheaper "accident only" coverage. If the insurance companies tighten their grip too much and try to only sell to people who absolutely don't need it, they may find that they end up eliminating their customer base.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (2, Informative)

moogied (1175879) | about 5 years ago | (#29825607)

...except that congress passed a law making this illegal?

http://www.genome.gov/24519851 [genome.gov]

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29825077)

The bad is that private insurance companies are likely to eventually *require* you to get a DNA sample, and possibly reject you if they determine your genes predispose you to old-age diseases.

That's only "bad" if you turn out to be predisposed, in which case your higher risk will no longer be subsidized and you'll have to pay fair premiums in proportion to your risk. For the majority who lack such predispositions, however, this is good news, as it means the cost of providing normal insurance will decrease. (And that, via competition, the price should decrease as well.)

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#29825191)

That's only "bad" if you turn out to be predisposed, in which case your higher risk will no longer be subsidized and you'll have to pay fair premiums in proportion to your risk.

Thereby making the cost of insurance prohibitive to those with genetic predisposition to serious, expensive-to-treat maladies. This works out exactly the same as denying those people insurance coverage, unless they are very wealthy.
This defeats the general purpose of medical insurance (which IS for the healthy to subsidize the sick).

From a libertarian standpoint (yours, I'm assuming, from prior discussions), why not just get rid of health insurance altogether? That's the only way to ensure that everyone pays their "fair" costs into the system. That seems to be what you're getting at, so why mince words?

People won't pay regardless the cost (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#29825749)

People will take on car payments, get a new cell, or something else, all before paying for their medical coverage. If the cost of coverage interferes with their ability to buy something they want they will declare the cost of coverage too high. Yet they see no problem fifty plus per month for a cell plan, much more for family plans, will probably have cable tv and one or two car payments.

For a large number of people it comes down to the fact they prefer to live in denial of the need and are just hoping if they hold out long enough someone else will pay for it, even if they tacitly acknowledge it will be through taxes that will increase and they will be paying it anyway.

In other words, they need to be forced to buy it. It just helps knowing others are forced as well.

Re:People won't pay regardless the cost (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 years ago | (#29826151)

OR

You can DENY health care for those that AREN'T covered by insurance and can't afford to pay it.

As long as there are no consequences for NOT having Health Insurance, then the problem remains, and the system stays broken.

Now queue the whiny liberals "what about the children". These are usually the same liberals who whine about the very same argument when it is made by conservatives. Both sides use the lame "Do it for the children" argument.

FYI, that is a cheap way of simply ignoring the bigger problem, which is government shouldn't intrude on people's private lives and decisions ... EVER.

Vote Libertarian and get rid of this childish logic.

 

Re:People won't pay regardless the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826873)

People will take on...

Nothing further in your post needs to be read to see the logical fallacy in your argument.

You state flatly out right that ALL people are that way. Do you not realize it only takes ONE person, even literally just one person out of the planet full of people, to make your entire statement false?

I can name at least three people, not including myself, that defy your widely generalized false statement.

Just one person not matching, which myself would count as, is proof that not ALL people are the way you think. Thus your statement is proven false.

You just made a liar out of yourself by poor choice of words, by saying 'all' instead of 'most' or 'some'.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29825983)

This defeats the general purpose of medical insurance (which IS for the healthy to subsidize the sick).

No, the purpose of insurance, medical or otherwise, is for like-risk individuals to form a pool and trade assessed risk for equivalent, but predictable, premiums. Subsidies have nothing to do with it.

If you want to join a program whose purpose is to subsidize health care for high-risk individuals ("the sick"), then donate to a suitable charity. That's what they're there for.

If you want to force others to contribute to such a program, well—that's known as theft, or extortion, or some other equally unpleasant name depending on how you go about applying said force. Gain enough popularity and you many even manage a "respectable" name like tax or regulation, but it's the same thing in the end.

As a libertarian I have no interest in elimination either insurance or charity. My only concerns are that the labels be properly applied, and that no one be forced to participate in either. (Or forced not to participate, as happens when regulations prohibit offering true insurance in favor of some hare-brained charity-mislabeled-as-insurance scheme.)

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#29827291)

Emphasis mine:

No, the purpose of insurance, medical or otherwise, is for like-risk individuals[1] to form a pool and trade assessed risk for equivalent, but predictable[2], premiums. Subsidies have nothing to do with it.

1. The 'like-risk individual' qualification -- I believe this to be an incorrect assumption on your part. There is no such thing as 'like-risk' -- the question is to what extent we can factor known risk factors into premiums.

2. Yet when you proposed adjusted premiums for ascertained variable risk, that contradicts your definition of the purpose of insurance.

3. Effectively, those who incur reimbursable expense are subsidized by those who don't. That's the nature of the system, and how it operates when operating as intended. Those who do not make claims subsidize (through their premiums) those who do make claims. Not sure how you could claim it operates any differently than this.

We have very different philosophical stances, and we'll never agree on those foundations. But I think if you want to split hairs on terminology, you need to be very careful.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (4, Insightful)

ishobo (160209) | about 5 years ago | (#29826171)

From a libertarian standpoint (yours, I'm assuming, from prior discussions), why not just get rid of health insurance altogether? That's the only way to ensure that everyone pays their "fair" costs into the system. That seems to be what you're getting at, so why mince words?

Bravo. Any free market libertarian should not be using any type of insurance. Afterall, insurance is a form of wealth redistribution.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (4, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29826695)

Any free market libertarian should not be using any type of insurance. Afterall, insurance is a form of wealth redistribution.

This demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of both the concept of "wealth redistribution" in respect to libertarian philosophy and the concept of insurance itself.

First, insurance is not "wealth redistribution" even in the limited sense described below, at least when it's not actually being turned into some sort of forced-"charity" scheme via regulation. The projected value of an insurance subscription is equal to the projected value of the premiums being paid (less overhead and the insurer's profit margin, of course, just as with any other service). You're neither subsidizing nor being subsidized by your fellow insurees. What you get from insurance—what makes it worthwhile enough to justify the overhead—is that people tend to prefer that their future costs be predictable. Insurance takes a high-cost, low-probability future event and, by pooling it with many similar events, turns it into a low-cost, predictable event in the form of periodic insurance premiums. Critically, risk is conserved with respect to each insuree; no one pays extra to subsidize anyone else's above-average projected cost (risk). In retrospect, of course, some will be compensated more than others depending on the actual circumstances, but ex ante no insurees can be said to benefit at others' expense.

Second, "wealth redistribution" is only a problem when it's involuntary. Donating to charity is perfectly consistent with libertarian philosophy, and something many libertarians do frequently. When libertarians speak negatively of "wealth redistribution" they're referring to redistribution by force, involuntarily, which is an entirely separate matter. The force is what makes it wrong, not the redistribution.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826175)

This defeats the general purpose of medical insurance (which IS for the healthy to subsidize the sick)

More accurately: Insurance is for the at-risk to maybe subsidize the at-risk. The closer the probabilities approach 0 or 1, and the less maybe-ish that "maybe" is, the less sense insurance makes. The whole point is that you don't know what's going to happen: will you be subsidized, or will you be subsidizing?

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

benjamindees (441808) | about 5 years ago | (#29826197)

Odd that "healthy" has now become the antonym of "sick".

It helps the unhealthy to conflate poor lifestyle choices with random maladies, and to propose insurance as a viable solution to the former.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826955)

It helps the unhealthy to conflate poor lifestyle choices with random maladies, and to propose insurance as a viable solution to the former.

Your genes are a poor lifestyle choice now?

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29827437)

Your genes may not be your choice, but they are certainly a choice. And insurance is no more a solution to that problem than it is to unhealthy lifestyles.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29826385)

THe purpose of insurance is to price risk and spread that risk among similar individuals. It's not supposed to force people to buy insurance that they feel they do not need. It's not supposed to be a system where everyone pays the same regardless of their risk. The problem is that the system as it is doesn't the least bit resemble such a system; it's full of fraud and people are heavily restricted in what they can actually choose in their insurance.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (2, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 5 years ago | (#29826103)

Knowledge is power. All in all, it's good that we are learning about ourselves. Ultimately it gives us more choices.

But power always cuts two ways. Insurance companies won't be able to resist the temptation to abuse this knowledge. Though they aren't qualified, they'll pass judgment on genes, deciding which ones are "bad" and "good". They'll take a lot of shades of gray and paint them black and white, and they won't get it right. Suppose they find something like a correlation between baldness and skin cancer? Suddenly, being bald might be "bad". There's too much chance that those of us so unfortunate as to have "bad" genes will be punished for it. Also possible is the use of it to make certain no one can be right. Those who've had a bit of bad luck-- injured in an accident, say-- might suddenly be informed that they've been found to have some genetic condition that voids their coverage. For those whose conditions really are debilitating, that's punishment enough without some faceless committee sitting in judgment and further reducing their chances because they've been judged not a good bet.

We so need a system where such judgments are not needlessly harsh and incentives needlessly perverse. Too many cures are overlooked in favor of much more profitable chronic care needed to handle symptoms. For instance, the standard treatment for high blood pressure is to take medication-- daily, for the rest of your life. Life and evolution are quite harsh enough, we don't need Neo-Eugenics.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 5 years ago | (#29826127)

You can claim Godwin if you want, but the topic is so close to eugenics and eliminating the untermensch anyway, it's hard to avoid.

What do you propose that those people whose premiums woud be impossibly high (or who are insurance pariahs) should do? Euthanasia? (illegal anyway).

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29827065)

What do you propose that those people whose premiums woud [sic] be impossibly high (or who are insurance pariahs) should do?

If they truly cannot get insurance, then their only option is accept the risk themselves and hope they don't get sick or injured.

If they do anyway, and cannot afford health care even after exhausting all available options for charitable assistance, then they are in exactly the same position as one who has a disease or injury for which there is no known cure—a position which, needless to say, every person who has ever lived (or is currently alive) has faced (or will face) at some point.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825185)

Too bad you don't have a Public Option huh AmeriCUNTS??? Hahahahaha, fucking idiot Americans.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (3, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#29825271)

God I hope you guys get your healthcare shit together before that happens. In a modern country the data could be used to save lives... In the US I can only see it saving money and costing many thousands of lives.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 5 years ago | (#29825333)

Prove we are overpopulated. Did someone find an Earth manual someplace that says only 7billion humans can be supported? I am sure wise ass will come back and say "We are overpopulated because people are starving in ". Well people starve in American and Americans are considered some of the fattest. So I think maybe we are not overpopulated we just have a food delivery problem.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

jhfry (829244) | about 5 years ago | (#29825905)

First, define overpopulated.

To me, a population is too large when its environment can no longer sustain the population. So, in many parts of the world, where people die of starvation especially, they are overpopulated. To argue that its a logistics problem is a fallacy. What if the entire earth were starving, would it be a logistics issue because we are not consuming the resources of a planet in a nearby solar system?

I personally think that we have already significantly overpopulated the earth, because we have modified our environment so greatly in order to sustain our population growth. So though there are resources available, they are not natural resources, and thus our current population exceeds the natural limits.

I don't propose that we put and end to reproduction in an effort to reduce populations to hunter-gatherer levels... but I would like to see a culture of reproductive responsibility encouraged. I did my part, my wife and I stopped after 2 children so we conformed to a zero population growth ideal. I wish everyone could share these ideals.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0, Offtopic)

icebrain (944107) | about 5 years ago | (#29826235)

I don't propose that we put and end to reproduction in an effort to reduce populations to hunter-gatherer levels... but I would like to see a culture of reproductive responsibility encouraged. I did my part, my wife and I stopped after 2 children so we conformed to a zero population growth ideal. I wish everyone could share these ideals.

Or, we could actually make a serious effort to expand beyond earth and allow the species to grow, instead of huddling down here and making an evolutionary dead end due to a self-imposed limit, a decidedly anti-Darwinian desire to limit or even harm ourselves from fear that we might get too dominant, or a collective agoraphobia. Get out and expand into the universe like any other living species would do. Make something of our existence. Doing otherwise is just succumbing to the same old riduculous superstitious notions that gave us the stories of Babel and Prometheus.

*Note: This is expressly not a "just trash earth and just find somewhere else to live" proposal. The idea is to go somewhere else and expand precisely so you don't have to trash earth. Rather than cram everyone into one basket with a large impact, spread out to many baskets (thereby making a smaller impact on each).

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

nigelo (30096) | about 5 years ago | (#29826925)

You seem to be proposing moving large numbers of people from earth to some other planet, in order to save resources. How would moving large numbers of people save resources?

If you are not proposing moving large numbers of people, then those of us left behind are still left with the same problem we have currently.

So, sorry, I don't think you are addressing the problem.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 5 years ago | (#29827289)

You seem to be proposing moving large numbers of people from earth to some other planet, in order to save resources. How would moving large numbers of people save resources?

Yes, it takes more of earth's resources in the initial push, but in the long run you end up using less (of earth's resources, at least) because you can start taking advantage of things like asteroids and in-situ resources (compressing/converting atmospheres, etc). It takes a higher initial investment, but the payoff is bigger. In the very long term, you could wind up with an on-earth population smaller than the current one, but with a total human population much larger.

Overall, resource usage is still higher, though you have a bigger population. And rather than using up resources on earth (which is still a nice place to live) you're mining the dead, lifeless rocks we know as asteroids.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826083)

Earth is overpopulated because our technology, which we need in order to support the current number of people, has an unsustainable impact on the environment, which will eventually cause a reduction of the population. Whether you see it this way is of course very subjective: Like you said, we could distribute our resources more efficiently and settle on a less luxurious lifestyle. However, that is wishful thinking. Could've, would've. You can also argue that the environmental impact is not as big or that we'll use technology to handle the consequences. I say we'll see.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825351)

I'm all for screening unborn fetuses and aborting them as long as we are alowed to screen the born ones and abort them as well.

"I'm sorry Sir, but your parents feel after 30 years of living at home you are unfit to live, please come with me."

Illegal to Discriminate (1)

Schickeneder (1454639) | about 5 years ago | (#29825439)

As of 2008, it is illegal for insurance companies to require any information about a DNA sample.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

http://www.genome.gov/10002328 [genome.gov]

One of the last things Bush did in Office.

Re:Illegal to Discriminate (2, Insightful)

irondonkey (1137243) | about 5 years ago | (#29825575)

And of course, nothing illegal is ever done.

Re:Illegal to Discriminate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826139)

This is a much needed act. Unfortunately, insurance companies are already breaking this act. They denied insurance to an "overweight" baby and an "underweight" toddler. The problem with these kids are their genes. It's not like they are eating candy, McD's, 5 liters of soda, and 6 meals a day. These are normal kids denied coverage due to their genes.

I hope these people sue the insurance companies, get a huge settlement, and force insurance to actually obey GINA.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825623)

Where it gets ugly, is that this will be yet another tool that could allow screening of unborn fetuses, and potentially selective abortions.

... maybe someone will make a movie about it and call it Gattaca (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/).

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 5 years ago | (#29826337)

Yup - insurance only works in the absence of knowledge. If you could predict with 80% accuracy whether somebody's house would burn down, then almost everybody could get dirt-cheap fire insurance (which they wouldn't buy anyway since they wouldn't need it), and a small number of people wouldn't be able to afford it and would lose everything they have in a fire. The insurance companies would go out of business since nobody would bother buying insurance either way.

The only thing that would work once genetic testing becomes reliable is a system that has these attributes:
1. No denial of claims for pre-existing conditions.
2. No differential charging based upon genetic factors.
3. All people must pay in - coverage is not voluntary.

If you don't have all three the system breaks down. Either people rip off the insurers, or insurers rip off the people. Neither works.

Most of what people consider "health insurance" isn't really insurance anyway - it is more of a buyer's club for health services. IMHO a major area of reform should be to eliminate this aspect of health insurance entirely. There is no reason that a poor person without insurance should have to pay $100 for a doctor's visit that costs $30 for Aetna (even if the poor person can haggle them down to $50 - assuming they are in the condition to haggle BEFORE the services are rendered). This alone wouldn't fix health care for the poor, but it would certainly make that problem a lot easier to solve.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 5 years ago | (#29826851)

If you could predict with 80% accuracy whether somebody's house would burn down, then almost everybody could get dirt-cheap fire insurance (which they wouldn't buy anyway since they wouldn't need it), and a small number of people wouldn't be able to afford it and would lose everything they have in a fire.

Rather, the houses likely to burn down would be unoccupied, and probably demolished, and the remaining houses would be be insurable at much lower rates. Everyone wins. Well, some people would be out the cost of a house and need to find new shelter, but at least they won't be caught in a fire.

In the medical case, of course, you can't leave your "house"—but you can take steps to mitigate any diseases you may be genetically predisposed to. Analogies aside, however, by the time your genetics have been determined it's too late for (real) insurance; either you're known to be within normal risk levels, or you're looking for charity, not insurance. The time to take out insurance against genetic risk factors is before conception. At that point it's your parents' DNA that determines the risk, and thus the cost of insurance.

Re:The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#29826605)

"Predisposition to death." I'm really surprised that some insurance company hasn't tried this one yet.

"So, your great grand mother, how healthy is she?"
"Well, she died about 30 years ago"
[checks off box]
"And your grand mother?"
"She died just last year."
[checks off another box].

nice (1)

Emesee (1155401) | about 5 years ago | (#29824993)

nao, maybe they'll be able to start growing limbs back soon. and maybe they can make SENS work so we'll all be "effectively immortal" . god bless california. cause it's warm.

Re:nice (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#29825699)

and maybe they can make SENS work so we'll all be "effectively immortal"

If you want to get SENS working right, you have to blow on the cartridge, but that's ridiculous. Who'd want to make SNES work when they could get the N-64 working and play Goldeneye instead?

Consent (2, Interesting)

kidsizedcoffin (1197209) | about 5 years ago | (#29825003)

I didn't see it in the article, but was consent obtained from each of these patients to use their DNA in this study? Or is this one of those OPT-OUT programs that companies think consumers like?

The doctors' permission?! (2, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | about 5 years ago | (#29825043)

Yeah, let's hope they got the doctors' permission, because, you know, it's not like the patients have a say in it or anything...

Don't you mean..... (1)

netruner (588721) | about 5 years ago | (#29825081)

Let's hope that they got permission from the patients' doctors first.

I would think that getting the patients' permission would be a little more important.

Re:Don't you mean..... exactly (1)

SlideGuitar (445691) | about 5 years ago | (#29826185)

What on earth? The patients' doctors are irrelevant here, legally and ethically. It is patient consent that matters.

Re:Don't you mean..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826425)

This is California. Getting the money necessary is the most important thing of all.

god save us all... (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 5 years ago | (#29825101)

All bioinformaticists who are annotating this data.

This is not frikin sequencing ! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825155)

This is not sequencing.
It's using a microarray to assay for known SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms).

Side note: you should have the right to have analysis done independently of the assayer. An Medical Degree is no not necessary to evaluate the results. Computer algorightms tied to a website can do a better job. There is no evidence that and M.D. is required.

Death to clutter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825159)

Great! Now we won't need social security numbers! We'll just use our DNA!

Quick, your state needs you! (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29825189)

California needs samples of saliva. If you live in California, proceed directly to the capital and spit on the front door. Your state is counting on you.

At least that way they can get saliva samples of conservatives. Of course, in California, that's a sample size of about four, but it's a start...

Re:Quick, your state needs you! (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 5 years ago | (#29825559)

Wow, those must be some really powerful people to of elected the Governator.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schwarzenegger [wikipedia.org]

Re:Quick, your state needs you! (1)

treeves (963993) | about 5 years ago | (#29827267)

First, it's "to have", not "to of".
Second, are you implying that Schwarzenegger is a conservative?
I think those four conservatives in CA would disagree with you on that.

In fact, the wikipedia article you linked to has this to say:

In recent years, many commentators have seen Schwarzenegger as moving away from the right and towards the center of the political spectrum. After hearing a speech by Schwarzenegger at the 2006 Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said that, "[H]e's becoming a Democrat [... H]e's running back, not even to the center. I would say center-left".

If Gavin Newsom is saying Arnold is "center-left", you can surmise that real conservatives think he's somewhere between FDR and Fidel Castro.

RTA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825261)

They're not being sequenced, they're being genotyped on a SNP chip. There's a huge difference.

s/Sequenced/Genotyped (3, Informative)

ianbean (525407) | about 5 years ago | (#29825341)

Maybe everyone should read the article. They're being genotyped (700,000 SNPs by Affymetrix array) not sequenced. There is a significant difference...

Not the first time.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825355)

"This will be the first time such a large group has had their genes sequenced"

Obviously they have forgotten about the coal mine / medical file catalog / alien landing site, as seen mid-series on the X-Files.

Likely a scam to support 23 and me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825397)

Likely a scam to support 23 and me

With or without permission? (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | about 5 years ago | (#29825441)

The article seems to gloss over this BIG question.... Did they get the patients permission before they scan in their DNA and link it into their medical records?

If they didn't or aren't, then that is a big privacy violation with perhaps huge negative ramifications for those individuals (if any diseases are identified that aren't treatable but will impact their ability to get insurance).

Also breaks the doctor/patient trust entirely since your doctor is more or less stealing from you...

Re:With or without permission? (2, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 5 years ago | (#29825513)

Or for the patients children. I can see being in my later years and really not caring, since I'll presumably be on the federal dole (Medicare/Medicaid/Whatever) by then, but this data is also predictive of the patients children and grandchildren. Much as I can see the value in the research, this is a monstrous can of worms. Patient consent should be required at a minimum, and prohibitions on genetic discrimination are going to be required as well.

Re:With or without permission? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 5 years ago | (#29826013)

If they didn't or aren't, then that is a big privacy violation with perhaps huge negative ramifications for those individuals (if any diseases are identified that aren't treatable but will impact their ability to get insurance).

This depends entirely on the proper collection and use of the data. If they're looking for trends across a huge dataset, HIPAA rules allow them to de-personalize the data. Thus the sample comes from Male03241, whose identity is stored in a discrete location used only for specific purposes.

Thus, they'll know that someone has the gene for Parkinson's, but will not have access to who that person is outside their own study. And with a set of data this large, there's a solid chance they don't really need that info anyway. They're almost certainly looking for trends and head-counts.

Re:With or without permission? (2, Informative)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | about 5 years ago | (#29826539)

It would be completely illegal without informed consent. They would have had to go to their Internal Review Board (IRB) and get approval and would be required to follow federal guidelines. This is a highly regulated part of medical privacy and IRBs do not screw around with the rules because the institutional consequences are massive. They range from massive lawsuits to federal crimes. The scientists doing the SNP arrays would also be forbidden from knowing any patient information. Only the doctors involved with patient treatment would know any identifying information.

Now one of the interesting caveats to this is that the doctors involved with the patient's care are privy to the results of the SNP array. Presumably they would be told "Patient X Y and Z have mutations correlated with early onset Alzheimers and Huntington's Disease. They would be obligated to tell their patients and begin any appropriate care. My guess is that is why they decided to study patients around 65 years old. Any genetic predispositions would already have manifest themselves. I am curious if it was done to avoid any ethical concerns with "diagnoses" arising from the study.

Diverse study? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 years ago | (#29825481)

The article keeps repeating how diverse the participants in the study will be. But I'm going to guess that they won't find very many people who have genetic diseases which cause a person to die before they reach oh, say their 65th birthday.

The medical insurance company from Hell . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 years ago | (#29825535)

"Mr. elderly Californian, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you . . . you have cancer."

"But I also have some good new for you, it's treatable."

"But yet again I have some bad new for you: you have the QZURVN gene, which our research indicates that you will die of heart disease in a few years anyway, so why should we bother treating the cancer?"

Other countries (2, Interesting)

FenixBrood (760690) | about 5 years ago | (#29825627)

I live in Sweden and here we take DNA samples of all newborn and put the samples with SSN and parents name in a national database. The database can then be accessed by scientists for study. We have done this for decades. I haven't heard anybody here really care about being in the database.

Re:Other countries (2, Informative)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 5 years ago | (#29825849)

I haven't heard anybody here really care about being in the database.

a) Listen harder

b) They only tell your parents about it and by the time you are old enough to care chances are your parents have forgotten.

Re:Other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825877)

But the Swedish are filthy communists, so why should we listen to you?

Re:Other countries (4, Insightful)

Schickeneder (1454639) | about 5 years ago | (#29825901)

You have universal healthcare in Sweden, so all the citizens should theoretically get equal/fair treatment anyway. People in America aren't generally afraid of having that "personal" information known, rather they worry about the possible consequences of private healthcare providers and employers accessing that data and discriminating.

Re:Other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826723)

You can have your sample destroyed: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/PKU-registret

Yay for privacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825741)

The effort will make use of existing saliva samples taken from California patients, whose average age is 65. Their DNA will be analyzed for 700,000 genetic variations called single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, using array analysis technology from Affymetrix in Santa Clara, CA. Through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the resulting information will be available to other researchers, along with a trove of patient data including patients' Kaiser Permanente electronic health records, information about the air and water quality in their neighborhoods, and surveys about their lifestyles.

And people wonder why I hate electronic records.

insurance companies already get your DNA~! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825757)

life insurance already requires a DNA sample. the labs just don't sequence it. you ever try to buy life insurance over 100K? they send the nice lady out to take your blood:)

All your DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29825839)

All your DNA belong to us!

they need to make hte perfect ACTOR (2, Funny)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 5 years ago | (#29825889)

so they can clone them....

So i can take over the world pinky....

Bad summary (2, Informative)

neurogeneticist (1631367) | about 5 years ago | (#29826003)

Of note, this is single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, and NOT sequencing. Only 700K common variants will be genotyped. While individuals could certainly be identified in the database by their SNPs (as few as 24), this project does not employ high-throughput sequencing. The title of the summary is misleading.

Overheard in the doctor's office... (2, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | about 5 years ago | (#29826049)

"Well, it appears that DNA analysis proves that you are actually a Streptococcus mutans [wikipedia.org] bacterium. I recommend against antibiotics or toothbrushing in order to extend your lifespan."

Permission ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29826069)

"Let's hope that they got permission from the patients' doctors first."

Rather, let's hope that they got permission from the patients (or that their doctors did so).

NO NO NO... not gene sequenced (2, Informative)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | about 5 years ago | (#29826401)

This is not the same as sequencing their genomes. This will not provide a full sequence of each person's genome. It will look for specific mutations that have already been identified and tell us who has certain point mutations.

Think of it as the difference between having the full text of the file in the case of sequencing and having a count of the number of times the writer wrote "teh" instead of "the"

This is not to say that this study is without merit but it is not gene sequencing or genomic sequencing.

For more information on SNP arrays wikipedia is helpful [wikipedia.org] and if you really want details you can talk to Affymetrix [affymetrix.com] (I bet these are the arrays they will use).

Gattaca anyone? (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | about 5 years ago | (#29827171)

Getting ready for real world Gattaca I see.

As a former and future California resident (1)

moxley (895517) | about 5 years ago | (#29827449)

I can say without a doubt that Kaiser Permanente is hated...for many reasons. All of the worst things you've heard about managed care/hmos, etc crystalled in one company.

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