If I Am Only My Genes, What Am I? Genetic Essentialism and a Jewish Response
Author(s)Wolpe, Paul Root
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AbstractWith the advent of the Genetic Age comes a unique new set of problems and ethical decisions. There is a tendency to take the scientific developments presented by modern genetics at face value, as if the science itself were value-neutral and not influenced by cultural and religious images. One example of the fallout of the Genetic Age is the development of a "genetic self," the idea that our essential selfhood lies in our genes. It is important to understand the assumptions of the Genetic Age, the development of genetic selfhood, and the broader cultural trends and assumptions that underlie modern genetic thinking. It is equally important, however, to shape a reaction to the concept of a genetic self. Judaism has long carried on a unique discussion about the nature of selfhood in different times and places and about the relation of the corporeal self to the essential self. Insights from Judaism therefore may help to craft a reaction to the modern genetic self that incorporates the best of modern genetics as well as the integrity of a more transcendent selfhood.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. 1997 Sep; 7(3): 213-230.
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Privacy-preserving genomic testing in the clinic: A model using HIV treatmentMclaren P.J.; Raisaro J.L.; Aouri M.; Rotger M.; Ayday E.; Bartha I.; Delgado M.B.; Vallet Y.; Günthard H.F.; Cavassini M.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-04-12)Purpose:The implementation of genomic-based medicine is hindered by unresolved questions regarding data privacy and delivery of interpreted results to health-care practitioners. We used DNA-based prediction of HIV-related outcomes as a model to explore critical issues in clinical genomics.Methods:We genotyped 4,149 markers in HIV-positive individuals. Variants allowed for prediction of 17 traits relevant to HIV medical care, inference of patient ancestry, and imputation of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types. Genetic data were processed under a privacy-preserving framework using homomorphic encryption, and clinical reports describing potentially actionable results were delivered to health-care providers.Results:A total of 230 patients were included in the study. We demonstrated the feasibility of encrypting a large number of genetic markers, inferring patient ancestry, computing monogenic and polygenic trait risks, and reporting results under privacy-preserving conditions. The average execution time of a multimarker test on encrypted data was 865 ms on a standard computer. The proportion of tests returning potentially actionable genetic results ranged from 0 to 54%.Conclusions:The model of implementation presented herein informs on strategies to deliver genomic test results for clinical care. Data encryption to ensure privacy helps to build patient trust, a key requirement on the road to genomic-based medicine. © 2015 American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.