On BioScience and Life and Such

This pisses me off a little

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 9:47 pm

post to news.thinkgene.com

From this Nature News piece on preimplantation SNP scans of embryos (my highlighting).

[Jacques] Cohen [research director at Reprogenetics, a genetic-testing company in West Orange, New Jersey] says that as the understanding of disease genetics progresses, use of tests that seem controversial now may become more acceptable in the future: “If you had the chance to decrease your child’s risk of a disease like diabetes and you didn’t, society would blame you.

So much is wrong with this statement.

First he is taking the focus away from the very real and disturbing issue of embryo-sorting based on uncertain risk estimation of predisposition to complex disease.

Secondly his statement underscores the importance of the environmental factor in such complex diseases, but it completely misses the point. If you want your children to avoid diabetes, then make them eat right and exercise. You can do that today without any knowledge of their genetics.

Thirdly, currently, society doesn’t seem to blame parents that neglect their children’s health by feeding them unhealthy food or fail to encourage (enforce) physical activity, – why would a genetic test change that.

Lastly, putting such blame on parents has some very problematic socio-ethical issues attached to it.

I hope this is an example of misquoting, I really do….

Update – more on the company Reprogenetics in this post on Sandwalk.

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  1. I edited the news story in question in Nature and I can assure you, it is not a misquote of what Cohen said. Thanks.

  2. Hi Alexandra. It was a great story, – thank you :-). I sort of figured it wasn’t a misquote…..but I was hoping that it was since I thought he sounded so misguided, – guess he is then…

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