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OK, can we just call foul on this whole issue? Last year’s incoming L & S freshmen had to read “Omnivore’s Dilemna,” and this year’s incoming freshmen get to have their genes analyzed.

Yeah, that’s right. Think back to when you were a freshman, bleeding blue and gold and desperate for any sign that you were a college-bound adult. Last year we got a big honking book in the mail–this year they get a cool little cotton swab.

If the freshies want to participate, they send the swab back with a tiny bit of their own DNA. The sample will be analyzed for “three non-threatening genetic factors affecting our health: the ability to absorb folic acid, to tolerate alcohol, and to metabolize lactose.” It’s considered a kind of “personalized medicine” which helps students understand their own personal health needs.

It will be followed by the usual “On the Same Page” programmy stuff, including panels, seminars, and a virtual bookshelf. Even cooler? There will be contests and the winner gets “a genetic analysis of their ancestry and health, compliments of the personal genomics company 23andMe.”

This all sounds very  “Gattaca”/”Never Let Me Go.” UC Berkeley clones could be on the horizon. Just think of all the possibilites–we could build an army of hip, apathetic bloggers…

In any case, it certainly beats reading about the reproductive possibilities of corn.

Image source: kyz under Creative Commons
L&S program asks students to bring their genes to Cal [College of Letters and Science]



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