Now cloning from raw DNA data is probably far enough off for now but couldn't the DNA be used to find vulnerabilities, for example, allergies or diseases with a genetic component? What about an insurance company looking at the DNA and denying insurance because of preexisting conditions?
Assuming the recent law changes survive coming challenges, such shenanigans will be illegal, at least in the USA.
So the argument goes that, given that the taxpayer is already responsible for unbounded medical expenses for everyone, it would be reasonable to compel everyone to buy prepaid health plans. In order to compel people to buy these, they must be available to everyone, so the government must also prevent insurance companies from refusing to sell prepaid health plans to people who are certain to use them. I use the phrase "prepaid health plan" rather than "insurance," because insurance is purchased to protect against future risk, but a prepaid health plan will cover things that occurred in the past and things that are not risks but certainties.
It's a pretty sound argument as long as you don't ask "Why is the taxpayer responsible for unbounded medical expenses for everyone?"
Note that this only works for emergency room care. Emergency rooms don't provide cancer treatment or dental surgery or lots of other things we consider to be medical problems. And even for problems that the ER will treat, they will only get you stable: so, if you have a heart attack, they'll stabilize you, but they won't put in stents or do any of the followup care that a good cardiologist would do in the weeks after your heart attack.
The answer to that is another question: do you want first responders checking to see if you can pay your bills before treating you, when literally moments can make the difference between life and death?
You know, for some people, the answer to that is "Actions have consequences. If you were more responsible, you wouldn't be in that mess in the first place. Not my problem."
"Oh, you got old and need medical assistance? Sorry, not my problem."
"You've been shot? Maybe you shouldn't have looked so suspicious to that cop. Not my problem."
"You have cancer from all the pollutants in the air and water that my company produces, but you can't afford health care because we laid you off? Not my problem."
A man's been hit by a car. The driver calls 911. Do you send an ambulance?
An ambulance arrives. The medical team springs into action, and one of their number looks through the stricken man's wallet for proof of insurance. He doesn't find any. Do you discontinue care?
Suppose instead that he finds an insurance card, but it's stained with blood; a reasonable person couldn't use it to tell whether the injured man's insurance was up to date. Do you discontinue care?
A little imagination should supply you with many similar scenarios. One could invent a method of proving insurance (or assets) both quick and powerful enough to address them all (a universal database keyed to DNA, perhaps), but certainly nothing like that exists today.
So, assuming I'm born with genetic defect that escalates into brain tumors, I shouldn't have been conceived since the my genes gave me 15% higher chance of developing spontaneous brain tumors.
That sounds like a wonderful society.
As correct as it sounds (to quantum theorists at least), some consequences, don't have actions, other than "being born" or "happening".
When you order from NEB or Sigma-Aldritch, what you get is a short DNA sequence (usually on the order of hundreds to thousands of basepairs) in a buffer solution. When forensic scientists do DNA preps of cellular samples from a crime scene or for a paternity test, they purify genomic DNA. This is millions of basepairs coiled around storage proteins to form a densely packed material called chromatin. The procedures used to purify chromosomal DNA would wash away any of the much smaller, synthesized fragments of the sort that you can order from a company, meaning that faking a paternity test in this manner is impossible.
Biotechnology is exciting, but not so exciting as University press offices might have us believe :(
Putting your genome online in this manner is more of a concern for insurance than anything else, I think— although as others have pointed out, discriminatory insurance practices based on preexisting conditions will soon be illegal in the U.S. . . . still, better not to take any chances.
Plus, I can't imagine it would be too hard for a disgruntled former lover to get a DNA sequence done with an old toothbrush or comb. Not to mention you have the right to an independent paternity test.
How long does DNA "last" on something like a toothbrush?
Seems like an orderly way of storing events, but a royal pain to view.
Thank you !
I mean, I'm all about creation vs. consumption and quality over quantity, but ... that's ... optimistic of you.