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Save from the drought

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment

A few friends poked me and wondered why I haven’t been publishing any thoughts for so long. To be honest, finding the courage to publish one’s thoughts (though in a small circle)┬áis not always easy, especially in a controversial field. There is never a shortage of topics (e.g. see the recent debates about 23andMe and the FDA), but true insights are rare as it’s so hard to get the full story.

I came across this in GenomeWeb today, and thought I’d share it here (http://www.genomeweb.com/blog/fetal-sequencing-questions. The original NEJM article is here http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1215536).

This ethics debate has been going on for quite a few years (or maybe even decade now), probably since the first use of high resolution array technology in the reproductive medicine field. Is there a right or wrong answer? No… or else it doesn’t belong to the ethics topic but rather a legal topic. My personal stance on this subject is, people have the basic human right to know themselves in any details, whether that’s through a commercial company or by themselves (yes, I can easily take some of my blood or a cheek swab and sequence myself), and no one has the right to pose parental control over others even if those ill-informed. I hate it when people say, under the cover of ethics or what not and in a serious but definitely condescending way, “we can’t just … because of the ethical concerns of …”, which often translate into, “you don’t understand what you’re getting and how to use it, and therefore you shouldn’t have it since it can hurt you”. Doesn’t this sound like a father telling his boy that he can’t get the new Xbox because he may waste too much time on it?

Coming back to reality… “if it were easy, it would have been done already”. To venture a business to help all parents have healthy babies, it is critical for an entrepreneurial team to understand the current situation, and find an innovative business model rather than relying on existing models to build a biotech company.

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