dna testing

What if Cal uses our DNA samples to get going a eugenics-like alumni legacy program?  Or what if we all get a letter years down the road:  “Seeing how gene sequencing technology has improved since you submitted your ‘On the Same Page’ program sample back in 2010, we have taken the liberty to run a more in-depth analysis of your genetic make-up. You have two months to live, and you ain’t never goin’ to space.” It’s a slippery slope, man; either way, Jude Law is going to incinerate himself.

Okay,  okay, the real criticism that has surfaced against “On the Same Page” is somewhat more down to earth. Read on for the concerns raised and Cal’s comforting response.

Concerns, Criticism: Naive freshmen hold a blinding amount of trust in the university; they probably won’t consider the possibility that Cal would pry further into their genetic information without consent. There is a lot of serious information contained in those samples beyond ability to digest lactose, booze and folic acid, and there is always the potential for abuse, even within great institutions. In regard to the fate of the data, “unplanned things can happen,” one of the directors of the Center for Genetics and Society ominously suggests, taking a drag on his cigarette in a near pitch-black room (we imagine.)

Cal’s Response: Give us a break. First of all, we promise all samples will be promptly destroyed following the analysis described. Also, all samples will be anonymous – paired up with random bar codes, not names. Ultimately, the point of this project is to get a dialogue going about the technology. In some sense, controversy means we’ve succeeded.

Just don’t get us started on that towel folding robot. Skynet, anyone?

Image Source: Zabowski under Creative Commons
Freshman Genetic Testing Program Draws Criticism [Daily Cal]

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Mar 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

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