GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-02 > 1265665546
From: Sam Eaton <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] GENEALOGY-DNA Digest, Vol 5, Issue 105
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 13:45:46 -0800 (PST)
Thank You for clarifying a number of issues.
This is a side issue. As to the Armed Services, my understanding(possibly incorrect) is that the DNA samples are also used in cases where the UCMJ has been violated. This includes establishing paternity in case of unanticipated pregnancies amongst service members.
To me the issue is that effective individual customized drug prescription, among other things, can't happen with out DNA testing. We see the very primitive start of this already at 23andMe. While I don't know how reliable the figures are, I have repeatedly seen annual numbers in the 100,000 range given for fatalities related to adverse reactions to properly prescribed drugs. Disabilities and severe life threatening reactions from this are reportedly in the two million range. Both my wife and I have had serious reactions to properly prescribed drugs, so I expect that these numbers are plausible. DNA testing has the potential to eliminate or at least drastically reduce this issue, among many others, in the next couple of decades. A hundred thousand preventable deaths a year and perhaps millions of preventable serious reactions are more than a minor inconvenience. On an annualized basis, these numbers are comparable to WWII casualties.
So lets follow a plausible Doctors Visit in say 2025 based on taking these issues seriously and DNA tests remaining, as I expect they will, voluntary.
"Mr Smith, I am very concerned. You really need to see a specialist about this. Unfortunately I can't make an appointment for you because no specialist will accept you unless you take that DNA test that I've been trying to get you to take for years. Oh and by the way, like most Doctors, I quit accepting new patients that didn't have a DNA test a couple of years ago. I feel that you should know that I really don't feel comfortable having a patient with your symptoms and no DNA test. I really hate to give my patients outdated and substandard health care, especially when they have a potentially serious issue like yours."
As for Government funded health care, Military, VA, Medicare, Medicaid etc. Once the bugs get worked out of this DNA stuff, does anyone here expect that DNA tests will become anything except mandatory?
Universal DNA testing is coming. The battles to fight are those over DNA based discrimination.
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 12:39:33 EST
Subject: Re: [DNA] CNN article: The government has your baby's DNA
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Repeating the URL you supplied for ready reference:
You asked why you are just now hearing about it. Probably a rhetorical
question, but I thought I might add a bit of background anyway. The issue has
been around for a very long time, but apparently it's gone viral recently, or
was worded in a way to catch your attention this time. Here's the first
article that cropped up on Google when I queried "Guthrie cards" -- it's dated
The reason for my search term is that I wanted to clarify what is stored:
it's blood spots placed on "Guthrie cards," from which DNA could be extracted
if desired. However, it is not routinely done. Guthrie cards have been in
use since the 60's, with storage policies determined at the state level. (The
same is true for the Armed Forces system -- the DNA is not extracted from
the blood spots, much less analyzed and stored in a database, until the need
arises to identify remains.
Newborn tests are not genetic tests in the sense of testing DNA for
mutations. They are metabolic tests, looking for the consequences of various
genetic conditions. An example is the level of the amino acid phenylalanine for
The Minnesota case in the URL above mentions a gene "for" cystic fibrosis.
I am reading between the lines somewhat, but I suspect the actual gene
screening was conducted because of an elevated level of a metabolic product. The
mother might very well have given permission for newborn tests to be
performed for metabolic disorders, but not connected that term with genetics at
first. This is the first level of screening, which can have false positives
(the test is sensitive but not specific). Follow-up does involve checking say
30 of the most common cystic fibrosis mutations, which turned out negative.
The child's medical record is not going to say she has a positive test for
the cystic fibrosis gene.
Now on to the main point of your message, informed consent. This concept is
relatively new, not part of the zeitgeist at the time Guthrie cards were
first stored. In the olden days, DNA testing wasn't even on the horizon. I
suspect it's mostly a case of "it's always been done that way," but times are
changing. You might also be interested in reading about what's going on in
In a message dated 2/7/2010 11:35:43 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> Some people on the list bizarrely seem to be overlooking the issue of
> INFORMED CONSENT.
> And why is a throw-away article on CNN.com the first time I've
> ever heard about all this?
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