Genetic research is a new and upcoming field and until recently was just practiced strictly on a scientific level. In 2000, the complete decoding of the human genome was finished and the full sequence was recorded this last month.
In May, Duke University paired with a genetic pioneer J. Craig Venture and Venter’s Rochville based Center for the Advancement of Genomics. The collaboration will use the human genome to predict diseases and treat patients before diseases and treat patients before illnesses can occur. Similar agreements in are in the works with University of California, San Diego. The main objective is to find how to take the genome information and put it toward the good of the public.
Scientist believes that DNA holds the Key information to personalized medicine. They believe that doctors will be able to predict if a person is a risk for disease by reading their DNA and form a gene-based treatment before it takes effect.
Traditional medicine is focused on diagnosing disease after a person has developed symptoms. Genomics based medicine predicts which people are susceptible to particular diseases and making a plan to prevent them from developing in the first place.
Another benefit is the reduction of health care costs. It is easier to treat a disease if a person can detect systems before they occur. Catching diseases before they occur can prevent expensive medical procedures.
Craig Venture left his last company to peruse this new field. He hopes to cut the cost and time in the process time in reading DNA. Previously it took several years and
millions of dollars to accomplish the DNA interpretation, now he hopes to cut it down to several minutes at a cost of about $1000.00. This goal would make genetic research affordable to most patients and allow health care to use it for treatments.
The real problems lie in its ethical application. The nature of interpreting DNA to cure disease has a true and strong need, but will the research have boundaries. There is a great deal of information that comes out of a person’s DNA and can be used for other things that will possible have bad or devastating effects.
Two major problems can come from this new research. First, knowing what problems and diseases a person will have can lead insurance companies to deny services to anyone that is predicted to have problems later in their lives. Everyone is likely to have some sort of health problem in life and the use of insurance statistics will be unusable when facts will be given about individual people. Insurance companies would transform their coverage’s to only accident and injury policies only, leaving people with predicted diseases with high medical costs. A second problem is that newborn babies will be predicted to have illnesses that will lead to selective births. Parents in the future are likely decided if an unborn baby deserves to live according to if they will or will not have future health problems. One can look at Hitler’s master race theory and all the needless deaths that occurred in his attempts to create this master race.
The real question is “are we ready for this type of research?” The answer is no, our human nature is not ready for this type of genetic/medical applications. We as a human species are too subjective in our nature and let emotions dictate our actions. Possibly one day when our culture has developed and become more objective, we can learn what genetics can do and help us to live better and fulfilling lives.