The Genome Generation: Releasing Genetic Info Online

John Hawks gets up in arms about George Churches essay The Genome Generation” where Church advocates that we all make our own personal genomes publicly available.  Hawks ain’t happy about that:

In his essay, Church begins by pointing to the coming benefits of genetic research, refers to the need to support the “altruists” who provide their information openly for research, and ends by making a generic call for genome sharing:

As “the first genomic generation” we will set the rules that many future generations may follow. Will we treat our genomes like our faces, which we share publicly even though they reveal details about our health, ancestry, and personality? Or will we be forced to hide them from view?

Talk about a leading question! Will you remain hidden behind your genetic burka?

I’ll ask a different leading question: Is it generally a good idea to release your personal information to the internet?

Generally no.  I’m with John Hawks here.  I’m not sure what someone would do with my genetic information, unless they worked for an insurance company and found something about me that made me uninsurable.  But, it still seems a bit creepy.


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