28 December 2008

let. to ed. re. "Dawn of Low-Price Mapping Could Broaden DNA Uses" -- NY Times

Mr. Pollack's recent article discussing Complete Genomics entrance into the DNA sequencing market raises numerous concerns, particularly with the opportunity for companies to now outsource their sequencing at Complete Genomics' cut-rate prices.

Plummeting costs will further lower the barriers-to-entry into the personal genomics market, inundating this nascent industry with a myriad of consumer opportunities.

Like the erosion of online privacy, personal genomics will push society to reevaluate its notions of privacy: Your genome describes -- in exquisite detail -- your propensity toward character traits and disease. Even though we can't decipher all of it now, science will eventually decode enough to substantially affect your children's privacy -- with whom you share much of your genome.

We wonder if everyone interested in having their DNA scanned would be as relaxed about other (more conventional) invasions of their privacy as they are with their genome if the privacy implications were as transparent.

Dov Greenbaum JD MPhil PhD
Mark Gerstein, PhD

The above is an unpublished letter in response to:
Andrew Pollack's article: "Dawn of Low-Price Mapping Could Broaden DNA Uses"
NY Times, October 6, 2008