Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Dispute over the future of DNAs' information

Another dinner sparkled a dispute where I've been told I was a theorist of conspiracies. Since we are all breathing together, we are all conspirasists, as for building theories, I pity the pragmatists.

The subject was DNA and its relevance to parents disrepancy. An academical paper on parents disrepancy shown that maybe one in four children are not the biological offspring of their parents. Of course, since most countries have voted a protection over DNAs informations, the paper did state that it was hard to come up with a correct statistical analysis.

The data were collected from different sources. The most important source for parental disrepancy is actually hospitals. To calculate the compatibility between donors and receivers, DNA decoding is done daily nowadays. And that's where hospitals come across personal informations that are hard to communicate to families. The ethical dilemmas behind this are not of my concern (though I have of course an opinion about it).

My problem was that a statistic around parental disrepancy was on the table. The Human Genome Project and all the statistical informations of our DNAs are out there, and though our personnal informations are not given to anyone, anonymous results are.
Where am I going ?

Well problems will arise behind the facts given behind these statistics. Just like Einstein didn't want bombs to be build, I'm sure that scientists still don't balance out the consequences of their study. Balancing out the result of studies is also a way to be sneered and treated like a madman at dinner table.

So what about statistical results from DNA decoding ? Do I have a theory? Well no, Foucault had a theory, I'm just using his theory to explain the possible negative consequences of such informations. The first one is a fact to illustrate the coming problems. Since humanity learned by that the HIV virus is more susceptible to touch someone with a coloured skin, the rise in donations towards remedies for against AIDS have slown down. Of course pharmaceutical companies are not going to spend as much more on a drug that touch more African countries than on a media generated-panicking simple flu.

But what about parental disrepancy, could it really create such a problem ? Well here comes Foucault and his biopower theory. Since institutional powers don't have anymore power over death, they constantly try to increase their power over life, ergo power over mariage, birth, cult of youth, video surveillance, drugs, and so on. Information about biological parenthood will be important informations for governments to know about children allocations, inheritance and other benefits that could be saved for the institutional powers.

Also, the protection on information varies from one government to the other. For example, in UK, the government protected the citizens from video surveillance abuses by allowing every citizen to ask for a copy of the video they are on. Will it stop in the future the governments to "protect" our information by allowing us a copy of such information ?

At the time of someone death, and this is already happening, investigators could go around find the other person related to the dead so everybody can claim a part of the estate, with small charge from the investigator. On children allocations, don't you think that either the state or the employer would save some money by continuing the constant push toward stopping nuclear families.
It might be a bit of a conspiracy theory. Well if I was listened to and understand, it would fall under the name of future worst case scenario based on already growing problems.
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