Genetic information is quite valuable, and for some people there are good reasons to keep it private; however, there are plenty of biotech firms ready to capitalize on your genome - they’ve just decided it’s better for you.
There are plenty of reasons for not wanting to have one's decoded genetic information available without restrictions. Some may have genetically transmitted diseases they don't want to disclose to insurers, employers, the public or even relatives. Others simply value their privacy, and reject the idea of genetic information about them being bought, sold and published without their permission in the same way that they might view privacy infringements regarding their online viewing history or spending patterns.
However, according to Google Ventures' CEO Bill Maris, everyone who is worried about his or her genetic information being recorded is just wrong. Together with another futurist, Peter Diamandis, he spoke on Tuesday during a Wall Street Journal technology conference held in Laguna Beach, California, about the future of human health and life extension.
"If we each keep our genetic information secret, then we're all going to die," Maris stressed, as quoted by Bloomberg. He said editing the genome is nearly possible today, as all technical obstacles have been overcome.
Maris and Diamidis, CEO of the XPrize foundation, seek to extend the life expectancy of humans. DNA databases — the bigger the better — are critical for doing research in this area. By studying data via the large companies they invest in, people like Maris and Diamidis hope find genetic trends in the development of various diseases and develop resistances to them.
Maris and others have invested in the 23andMe project, which sells $99 DNA kits and then processes the genetic data which is submitted. Any user can manage his own privacy status — according to the policy of the project, DNA information cannot be shared without the permission of the owner. However, concerns have been repeatedly raised concerning potential cyberattacks on such databases.
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