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The Personal Genome Project Hits the Web 87

Ian Lamont writes "The Personal Genome Project has released the data sets and descriptions of traits, ethnic background and other information of the first ten volunteers, which include the project director and nine other people with backgrounds in genetics, medicine, and biotechnology. While the human genome was first sequenced at the beginning of this decade, what's special about this project is these 10 participants are having their names, genome, and other personal data gleaned from questionnaires shared openly on the Web, where interested researchers can freely access them. One of the ultimate aims of the project is to create a public database of 100,000 volunteers that researchers and other parties can use to determine what traits, diseases or other characteristics are associated with specific genetic markers. When asked why volunteers are requested to attach their names to the Web records, the project director said the data could be used by researchers in other fields outside of genetics, including forensic science and historical research. While this project opens the door for some interesting and potentially life-saving research, there may also be difficulties or problems for people whose records are posted on the Web. Would you participate? Would you share your name, along with your genome, disease history, and traits? Why or why not?"
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The Personal Genome Project Hits the Web

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  • Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @05:40PM (#25547823)
    I think it is a bit overdone in many cases. I'm quite free with my personal information compared to some of my friends, but I think it might be a scary thing to provide my medical and genetic history anywhere it might be accessed by my insurance company. And that alone is a sad, sad thing.
  • Come again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aphoxema ( 1088507 ) * on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @05:43PM (#25547849) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, what did you ask, again? I was too busy registering to participate in one of the few things in my life I can do that can actually benefit all of humanity.

  • your name (Score:4, Insightful)

    by forceofyoda ( 855030 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @05:54PM (#25547989)
    If you have to attach your name to a document about yourself, you're probably a lot less likely to lie (depending on who you are). It makes sense to me that they'd want a name, but I'd definitely feel a little funny having all that stuff about me on the webs.

    Then again, sites like peekyou [] already have way more information about me than I expected.
  • the issue is making a sacrifice for the betterment of humanity. 100% absolutely, you will recieve negative impediments in your life for participating in this project. losing your privacy is a tiny one. but you do it anyway, because you are happy to make the sacrifice for the betterment of all

    you don't make an important contribution to any cause, ideology, or project in this world without pain. if you make a contribution, and there is no pain, then it also isn't important

    those who contribute to this project will suffer embarassingly and perhaps romantically and financially for contributing. and god bless them for that. the consideration of their privacy is but the beginning of what the ywill sacrifice, so if loss of privacy gives you pause, this projec tis really not for you, because you haven't even begun to fathom the deeper sacrifices here

  • Re:Come again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @06:11PM (#25548181) Journal

    Yes, it can benefit everybody except yourself. At best, your DNA will show you have no predisposition for various diseases, so you can continue to get health care insurance. However, if you show any predisposition to any disease, the likelihood of you being able to get insurance goes down really fast.

    And it's not just you. Depending on the predisposition, having this information public can also affect your children's ability to get insurance (as there are plenty of conditions that may be inherited).

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @06:38PM (#25548451) Journal

    the consideration of their privacy is but the beginning of what the ywill sacrifice, so if loss of privacy gives you pause, this projec tis really not for you, because you haven't even begun to fathom the deeper sacrifices here

    Deeper sacrifices... like the loss of privacy for your blood relatives?

    You aren't the only one with that DNA.
    Sharing it exposes more than just your genome.

  • Re:Come again? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @06:51PM (#25548563)

    Insurance companies are better at being insurance companies than you are.

    Pretty much everybody has a predisposition to something, and the research backing these predispositions isn't particularly rock solid (that is, someone who drinks a lot will probably have more health problems than someone with a gene that has sort of been associated with some forms of a particular cancer), so they would certainly use the information, but it wouldn't be the denial of coverage that you are talking about, it would be slightly higher rates.

  • Think open source (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chord.wav ( 599850 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @06:56PM (#25548623) Journal

    Let's say you have a genetic "bug". Wouldn't it be better for human race if you share your code with everybody so anyone can peek at it, detect and correct genetic bugs?... Of course anyone can fork your "code"
      and create a new distribution of "you" but if you are smart and with an above-the-average IQ, wouldn't it benefit the human race also? Or do you prefer for these scientists to debug and make copies of dumber people that volunteered to it leaving you as "closed source" in the human market?

    And the final dilema...Should we clone Elvis?

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!