by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 14, 2007 in DNA Fun, DNA Products, DNA Testing
Less than three weeks until the start of 2008 and everyone’s making their final marketing push. Genetic services companies are not exempt.
Boston-based dating service, ScientificMatch.com , uses a “patent-pending technology” that analyzes DNA having to do with the immune system to find a match who:
Smells good to you (but probably not to me)
Has complementary genetic material to yours so you can produce healthier children (unless you feed them McDonald’s every day and smoke around them)
Is so good in bed that you’ll wonder if a good sex life is in your DNA
Not to be topped by DNA-induced, euphoric love, the much maligned Genebase DNA Ancestry Project claims that Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer has joined their online networking community where you can email, post photos and messages, and join his network. You can even send an electronic postcard that shows that human HVR-1 mtDNA is 65% similar to Reindeer mtDNA. I guess Genebase thinks going goofy will somehow boost their credibility.
deCODE Genetics thought stirring the pot would keep the spotlight on them too. This past week, they put out the word that Dr. James Watson has 16 times the number of African-origin gene than the average white European (see this post for background about Dr. James Watson’s comments about race and intelligence). John Hawks said it best :
I mean, what is the purpose really of spreading a news story that Watson may be 1/16 African, without adding the context of how common this degree of genetic mixture has been in American history in particular, and between populations generally? Why would a geneticist working with humans not realize the ethical problem?
Personally, I’m pretty worn out after the excitement of the past few weeks and months. Great advances have been made in the field of personal genomics but we’re still taking things step-by-step. What may seem to have happened overnight is actually the culmination of years of hard work. And as 2007 draws to a close, we have more years of hard work ahead of us.
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