BIOL367/F10:Class Journal Week 7
Revision as of 14:14, 17 October 2010 by Andrew Herman (Andrew Hermans answer to the reflection questions)
- How do you think biotechnology like whole genome sequencing and microarrays will affect your future?- It is likely that within the next decade, the price of individual DNA sequencing will have dropped to a point that it will become a viable tool for medical diagnostics, and development of effective treatment, of most known diseases. My entire genome will be available for sequencing and then analysis within a relatively quick time span, say a week. And this will give medical professionals the ability to be more precise and accurate in their treatment of complicated illness, that I may develop. This technology has the potential to change the way medicine is practiced, in that every person will be sequenced and their data analyzed for treatment options. Biotech development is on the front line of the battle with illnesses such as cancer, and has the highest possibility of becoming the tool with which effective treatment is developed.
- How will it affect your career?- With advancement in any technological field, creation of new and highly competitive professional positions will become available to be filled by those knowledgeable in the necessary skills. A fundamental knowledge of DNA microarray technology with an ability to analyze the data on a large scale quickly, enables a person to become more competitive in these fields. Thus, new career opportunities will become available in this highly diverse field.
- How will it affect your personal life?- Personally, a technology such as this would make future medical treatment far more effective and efficient, in terms of prediction, diagnosis, and treatment options. If I or a close friend/family member were susceptible to a disease, the increased ability in prognosis and treatment would make it more likely that a personal relation would survive. An important factor to anyones personal life, is his personal relationships, and the quality of life that they all experience.
- What pitfalls can you foresee and how would you suggest avoiding them?- The major danger with this type of technological development mostly stems from an issue of privacy. Privacy for patients, whom may have a serious diagnosis found in their analysis, would become a hot topic issue. This would stem from possible discrimination claims, by persons, who feel that their particular position will be threatened if their employer discovered the results of their test. Especially in a climate where health care rights is such a hot button issue, this type of developing technology could come under attack by groups that are concerned with privacy rights of patients. Another, even more dangerous, problem for a technology such as this is cost availability. Will this form of treatment be available to all, rich and poor, paid for by the government, or will it be considered a luxury type of test available for the wealthy and middle class. Separations in quality healthcare to socio economic classes would become further divided in a situation such as described. These are just a few of the social issues, that could be foreseen, not to mention the accuracy and effectiveness of mass testing that would tax the medical infrastructure in this country.
- How do you think biotechnology like whole genome sequencing and microarrays will affect your future? - I have no doubt individual (human) sequencing will arise as a viable business as soon as the price drops below $1000. And with all the individual and human comparison information (dna strengths and weaknesses) there will be those who would like to use that information to their advantage at the expense of the individual. The likely groups will be employers, insurance companies, wealthy families and probably more. Employers might only want those healthy enough to lower their benefit premiums and show higher IQ or possibly physical strenth. Insurance companies who already employ significant statistical analysis will add in "gene weaknesses" and try to avoid those who carry characteristics which they deem unfavorable. Weathly families will scan their childrens pool of suiters to ensure "strong stock" enters into their family line. The whole while all parties will either ignore or simply be unaware that environmental factors have significant and random effects over time. So I feel that this could and likely will significantly impact my future.
- How will it affect your career? - I'm not sure, certainly there may be interesting opportunities as a computer scientist to write algorithms and software to support the needs of this new industry. So maybe a job for me down the road in this area helping to standardize data collection and usage across various databases, not to mention opportunities in analysis and tool development.
- How will it affect your personal life? - This will be another area where I will be ever vigilant to protect the security of personal sequencing data as I would my social security number. Not just for myself, but for my family and close friends who won't likely have spent the time to understand how dangerous the downside could be. On the other hand would this prevent me from having my own sequencing performed? Probably not... I think insight into my physiology would provide a peek into my long term viability. It could potentially provide insight into my and my offsprings succeptibility to certain disease and illness.
- What pitfalls can you forsee and how would you suggest avoiding them? - Lock up your data. Ensure the organization who provides the sequencing and analysis services can guarantee your personal data will not exist over time in their possession (server or database). Keep an eye on legislation which may weaken our individual rights to keep our data private. The last thing we need is a public sequencing service to keep track of individuals which business has access to, similar to the credit bureaus or govt tracking by social security number. We must prevent aggregation of this data... period.
15:06, 17 October 2010 (EDT)
- How do you think biotechnology like whole genome sequencing and microarrays will affect your future? This seems to be a question of nature vs. nurture at the most fundamental level; while whole-genome sequencing and microarrays may some day be able to provide complete, predictive information about events, personas, and conditions in a person's future, the person's subsequent interaction with the outside world may change these predicted outcomes. As such, because there is this level of uncertainty and because people in a democracy would most likely only allow this process to influence them up to a point, I foresee this biotechnology serving as helpful, but not damning, warnings as to a person's future genetic events.
- How will it affect your career? As I note above, and because apparently there is some legislation even as we speak to protect peoples' jobs despite found genetic qualities, the only way this biotechnology could influence my career is if I internalized the presented information about my future and then made career decisions based upon it--I doubt that there will be outside forces to act against or for me based upon my genetic makeup as this brings into question ethical issues as well (watch any dystopian science fiction movie and you might see that our future has already been cognitively warded against such a fate).
- How will it affect your personal life? In this manner I could see the predictive nature of this biotechnology having some influence; for example, if a person knew they had a predisposition to heart disease, they might exercise more than they would have without this knowledge. In a way, this is the old question of, "If you could be told how you were going to die, would you want to know?" For some people, ignorance would be bliss, and as such they might not even want this data.
- What pitfalls can you forsee and how would you suggest avoiding them? Apropos of what I say in the last question, who knows what sort of psychological instability this predictive information might cause? Again, suppose a person is told they have a predisposition to heart disease; henceforth, every little twinge in their chest, every case of heartburn, or any muscle cramp might send them into a panic for fear of a heart attack--it could potentially be the birth of widespread paranoia. Furthermore, consider the tax on our medical personnel; I foresee waiting rooms packed more to the brim because people, gaining a glimpse into their future fate, are grasped by fear that death awaits around every corner (I hyperbolize for rhetorical effect, but you get the picture). As such, perhaps this information should be on a "need to know" basis; patients who are in no immediate or definite risk should not be told of their possible future afflictions unless it is a pressing, life-threatening concern. Then again, it would probably throw into fuss a whole "freedom of information" argument and the politicians will have a field day over the issue... so who knows what consequences could arise from our work in biotechnology--for now, it's simple debate over hypotheticals.
- How do you think biotechnology like whole genome sequencing and microarrays will affect your future? Yes, it will affect my future because since I am pursuing a career in the medical field this could change the way people will find out about their future medical health. Patients will be able to see and know what they are at risk for and we will be able to catch certain diseases and illnesses way in advance before the patient even has a chance to get sick for it.
- How will it affect your career? This will affect my career because it will make it easier for us to treat patients and diagnose them based on their genes. We would not have to rely much on genetic history and other past medical files. The person's genome sequencing will be able to answer all of the questions needed to find out about the person's medical history.
- How will it affect your personal life? It will affect my personal life because I will be able to find out about my own personal genome sequence if I really need it and that could make it easier for me to know what illnesses I am at risk for.
- What pitfalls can you forsee and how would you suggest avoiding them? That the genome sequencing may not always be right. The machine may make mistakes and sometimes make up completely wrong sequences which can happen because it is a computer doing the work. So that is one pitfall that is always expected.