Rise of the Genetic Database

Kaitzilla

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I'm sure all of you have watched Gattaca, the perfect movie about the future where the genetically gifted get the professional jobs and those predisposed to genetic diseases later in life get the menial jobs.

Big pharma wants a vast genetic database to make big money, cops want it to solve all crime, and the government wants it too.
So why don't we have one yet?
Because the people don't want it, it's too scary to contemplate!

But quietly, in ones and twos, people are submitting a spit sample to private companies like 23andme, Helix.com, and Ancestry.com.
23andme alone now has 5 million genetic records of people.
And they are selling the data to big pharma.
https://www.businessinsider.com/dna-testing-delete-your-data-23andme-ancestry-2018-7

A pharma giant paid 23andme to get a $300 million dollar stake! :eek:
The DNA test for $199 is a teaser rate because your genetic data is the true prize to make money.

Cops also found the Golden State killer because one of the Killer's relatives used a genetic testing service.
https://www.wired.com/story/detectives-cracked-the-golden-state-killer-case-using-genetics/
They found the DNA to be a 50% match (or somesuch), so they knew the killer was a family member of the 50% hit.
That narrowed down the search from millions of people down to like a dozen.
So if a few of your family members use the DNA testing, cops have almost all the information they need about you already.

23andme is just like Google.
YOU are the product they are ultimately selling.

To be fair, using their genetic data with identifying information stripped out, a few genetic oddities have been discovered.
Sneezing when confronted by bright sunlight? (I do it!)
Well, it is genetic.
https://www.vox.com/2016/2/18/11046766/photic-sneeze-reflex
In 2010, the gene testing company 23andMe conducted a big opt-in study on its customers, looking to link certain behaviors with genes. The results, published in the journal PLOS, showed there was indeed a genetic marker for the reflex. This genetic marker was located near a gene that's known to be associated with seizures. That suggests further study of the gene may yield insights for epilepsy.

"There may be a link between photosensitive epileptic seizures and photic sneeze reflex (triggered by a sudden switch from being dark-adjusted to light) providing a possible link between this genetic region and photic sneeze reflex," Joanna Mountain, 23andMe's senior director of research, says in an email.

The success in medical research, crime solving, and making money are all going to put upwards pressure for more DNA databases.

We are inching towards Gattaca daily!
Please use this thread to discuss our dark future.
 
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Kaitzilla

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You should go with a different case study for the evils of genetic databases than a serial killer being caught by one.

New stuff is used on the big time offenders first, but gradually works its way down to the little guy.
Just looks at civil asset forfeiture.
Cops take more money and property from citizens than the robbers do now.

The United Kingdom now has almost 10% of its total population in a genetic database.
If 90% are men, then that means 17% or 18% of Britain's men are in a single DNA database?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_National_DNA_Database
All forensic service providers in the UK which meet the accredited standards can interact with the NDNAD. The UK's NDNAD is the foremost and largest forensic DNA database of its kind in the world – containing nearly 10% of the population, compared to 0.5% in the USA.[4]

If any abuses are gonna happen, they should show up in the UK first since they are so much farther along than the rest of the world.
The DNA hammer there is now being used to go after deadbeat dads. (barely a criminal)
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/7...anded-government-paternity-fraud-police-crime

“They’re trying to reassure us that hardly anyone can access the database, they claim its just for the police and its for the prevention of crime, but then this happens with no publicity about it.

“The public will not understand the impact this will have. The man in the streets would probably say he did not think you could use the database for paternity testing.

“And it has to be asked how many other agencies can then do the same?

Yes, the USA is using it on serial killers now, but 20 years later it is gonna be a giant database to clobber deadbeat dads with, and 10 years after that all the data will leak because access was shared too widely, then the dark web will link the data to facebook profiles.
Gattica will start up, the oppression will lead to a very narrow genetic profile for humanity 1000 years later, then the super-flu will escape from a lab somewhere and kill off humanity because there wasn't enough genetic diversity.
Just pointing out the endgame here.

The UK DNA database is one of the world's largest, and has prompted concerns from some quarters as to its scope and usage. Recordable offences include begging, being drunk and disorderly and taking part in an illegal demonstration.

Protestors that get arrested go into the UK DNA database? ahahaha
That won't secretly be abused. :rolleyes:
 
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Hrothbern

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Edgar Hoover would have loved such a DNA database.
Not only for crime.
Also because of children not from their official father.
Nice leverage material.
 

civvver

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Minority report scares me more, where you can go to jail for something you *might* do.

I guess I'm one of those people though who thinks, eh as long as I don't do anything wrong, which I don't who cares? The real issue should be that hackers will get it and steal your identity and possibly worse, commit crimes and frame you as the fall guy. Do you really trust the government with your data to keep it secure? The us military had a ton of personnel files breached. And of course the equifax breach.
 

HoloDoc

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They won't even bother to keep the abuse secret if it's protesters. How long before union activists are put on special DNA registries by the Right? And I wouldn't trust the Left with this power either.
 

Peuri

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I'm actually in the process of paying for the honour of donating my genetic material to MyHeritage at the moment. I guess that will effect my insurance prices in the long run, when my insurance company buys the data from them at some point, and it's revealed that I've got a propensity for cancer of what ever. But bleh, we will be serfs to our masters, Google and Amazon in no time anyway.

Think about what happens when Google launches it's AI teacher program in 10 years or what ever. The program will be marketed as an individualized learning experience, as opposed to older methods where only 20% of the students are in their zone of proximal development. The savings side will be obvious also. China will buy that, with their personal edits obviously, and the rest will follow suite. With that power Google can control the minds of the future. The amount of personalised data we will gather and process will eventually destroy our illusions of free will. It is inevidable. It's kind of scary, but what can a simple monkey do?
 

HoloDoc

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I'm actually in the process of paying for the honour of donating my genetic material to MyHeritage at the moment. I guess that will effect my insurance prices in the long run, when my insurance company buys the data from them at some point, and it's revealed that I've got a propensity for cancer of what ever. But bleh, we will be serfs to our masters, Google and Amazon in no time anyway.

Think about what happens when Google launches it's AI teacher program in 10 years or what ever. The program will be marketed as an individualized learning experience, as opposed to older methods where only 20% of the students are in their zone of proximal development. The savings side will be obvious also. China will buy that, with their personal edits obviously, and the rest will follow suite. With that power Google can control the minds of the future. The amount of personalised data we will gather and process will eventually destroy our illusions of free will. It is inevidable. It's kind of scary, but what can a simple monkey do?
Crap in your hand and hurl it at the masses behind the glass. If enough of us hurl our crap, we might just smash th enclosure and free ourselves.
 

The_J

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The issue here is: Everything can be used for good and evil.
Genetic databases are very important to identify mutations, which lead to cancer or other physiological problems. Without having a big database, nothing can be done there (says someone who is working with big databases of genetic material; luckily not human material, would not want to deal with the privacy implications). That also includes big pharma. Some medicaments work better or worse with different mutations. That needs to be known, and the pharma companies are the ones who will need to deal with that at the end.
If that was not given, I'd be up to say that all of it should be forbidden, but we cannot, we need it.
But it certainly means you should not behave stupid with your genetic data, and access should be as restricted and annonymized as possible.
Having data out there uncontrolled is very dangerous.
 

uppi

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Minority report scares me more, where you can go to jail for something you *might* do.

I guess I'm one of those people though who thinks, eh as long as I don't do anything wrong, which I don't who cares?

The thing is, you don't have to do anything wrong other than having the wrong genes. For example, those could show that you have a high propensity for violence so people might think it would be a good idea to lock you up, despite you never having done anything wrong.

The bigger danger lies in genetic illnesses. What if you cannot get medical insurance because of your genome. Or maybe even not a job, because employers don't like the high chance that you get ill.

T
But it certainly means you should not behave stupid with your genetic data, and access should be as restricted and annonymized as possible.
Having data out there uncontrolled is very dangerous.

Well stupid behaviour with your genetic data is one thing, but you also need to watch out for your family members behaving stupid with their data.
 

bernie14

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Crap in your hand and hurl it at the masses behind the glass. If enough of us hurl our crap, we might just smash th enclosure and free ourselves.

How reactionary.... eugenics is progress no? Cmon people, thinking progressively and pushing forward is ALWAYS better, isnt it? Yeah, if the future is our destination, that is why we should equip vehicles with steering wheels, accelerators AND brakes.
 

Bootstoots

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I gave 23andme a saliva sample before it was cool. :smug:

I fully acknowledge that it's likely to be used against me at some point in the future as our cyberpunk dystopia progresses. I just like knowing genetic information about myself enough to take the risk.

Granted, I hadn't fully thought through the risks before I did it - at the time, concerns of Gattaca-like effects seemed exaggerated to me. I believe this was in 2012 or 2013, before the newest wave of big data and machine learning had really taken hold. I think most of us were a little more naive about our personal data then. Thus far, though, I don't regret the decision.

I've learned quite a bit about my genes, including actionable information. For instance, I am homozygous for the SNP* that results in poor transformation of folate to methylfolate, causing increased risk of depression. L-methylfolate is available as a supplement or as the pharma drug Deplin (for >5x the price), and it's good to know I need to supplement with it for better mental health.

Several genes from my liver enzymes provide information about how I metabolize drugs. I learned I have a markedly elevated risk of bipolar disorder, and I found this out before I started having manic episodes. A couple of alleles I have come with elevated risk for addiction, as well. I also have a genotype that results in greatly reduced efficacy for the stimulant/nootropic modafinil, which I had tried in the past and found to be barely different than caffeine. So this explained that.

On the brighter side, my genes don't predict any substantially increased risks for physical illnesses, and I have no significant genetic diseases nor am I a carrier for any that 23andme tests for. New information is always coming out, and most illnesses involve hundreds or thousands of genes and can only be predicted probabilistically, so there could easily be nasty surprises lurking around the corner. But it's still good to know that my body is likely to be more or less fine, even though I drew a crappy hand for mental illness.

The coolest part is that, any time information comes out about SNPs, I can look up my genotype easily by browsing or downloading my raw data. It is very important to know that many published genetic results turn out to be spurious, and that most SNPs are only associated with increases or decreases in risk by like 20 or 30% up or down.

*SNP = Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (link). A specific base pair where humans can have either of two (or very rarely more) different bases. E.g. perhaps 64% of all people have two As at some location (one on each of the chromosomes in a chromosome pair), while 32% have AG and 4% have GG.

Can also refer to some party where true Scotsmen boof some whisky aided by the convenience of going commando under their kilts, chase it with some haggis through the other end, and try to secede from the UK. Or something like that.
 

Birdjaguar

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My mother, brother and I all have mitral valve issues requiring surgical fixes. I'm pretty sure genes are involved.
 

Kaitzilla

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were they able to cure any diseases in that dystopian future as a result?

Extremely aggressive DNA screening at birth seemed to be the order of the day.
Any fertilized embryos were discarded if a genetic red flag came up.

People who were born the natural way were the only ones with genetic diseases and were discriminated against.
I can't recall if any genetic diseases of adults were cured using gene editing techniques. :hmm:

1.5% of babies in the USA were born using IVF in 2018.
If you are going to pay $10,000 for a chance using IVF with only 20% or less success rate, why not pick out a designer baby with drop down menus?
23andme
got a patent approved 5 years ago that seemed to imply such a thing.
From September 24, 2103
Patent US8543339
Image 5 of 7 :lol:
https://patents.google.com/patent/US8543339B2/en
 

HoloDoc

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How reactionary.... eugenics is progress no? Cmon people, thinking progressively and pushing forward is ALWAYS better, isnt it? Yeah, if the future is our destination, that is why we should equip vehicles with steering wheels, accelerators AND brakes.
Breaking free of a cage is reactionary? Not really getting what you're saying here.
 

Hygro

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Knowing they'll have my info forever and that will mean more and more as time goes made me hesitant for years but one day I understood that everything is moving much faster than any purpose paranoia could serve addressing and it's better to contribute to these great projects and enjoy the results than guard against a potential oppression.
 

Bamspeedy

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So if a few of your family members use the DNA testing, cops have almost all the information they need about you already.


Family records aren't quite as readily available on a database, is it (outside of ancestry/geneology websites)? Sure, my social security number is attached to all kinds of info about me and my credit (where I've lived, etc.), but knowing all my family members (outside of my household) from getting my credit information isn't very likely. Credit information from when I lived with my parents 25 years ago probably doesn't exist on any databases anymore, and while my birth certificate is on file in a hospital, without knowing where to look (not having my name), you won't find it.

How the cops caught the killer is to going to the relative who had submitted the sample and, most likely asking them about their relatives and which, if any had lived in California, and then running checks on those names to verify he lived in the area during the time of the murders.
 
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