Abraham raises genetic discrimination in new age

Author Carolyn Abraham during her President’s Lecture at Humber College North campus. (Photo: Alex Martino)

Alex Martino and Shaun Fitl
Senior Reporters

Very soon, corporations could be hedging their bets on your genetic makeup.

According to medical journalist and author Carolyn Abraham, what they might do with it is not yet regulated.

Genetic testing recognizes changes in your chromosomes and genes.

In the latest edition of Humber College’s President’s Lecture Series, the award-winning writer spoke about the increasing accessibility to genetic testing and information.

“Canada does not have a law on the books about this kind of discrimination, so we’re behind, and it’s the only G8 country that doesn’t,” said Abraham.She talked about the lower cost of genetic testing increasing accessability to genetic information. Abraham said although technology is moving quickly, scientists are lagging on interpreting all the genetic information currently available.

Scientists don’t necessarily know what to do with this information or where to put it.

There is a massive gap in the public mind around what genetics is, expectations and how far the public has gone in meeting those, said Abraham.

Abraham stresses that although connections between genes and behaviour are being made more often, the public should not become too fast to judge the fate of any individual.

“There’s a tendency to assume that everything that is written in your genetic code is destiny… but in fact the more we learn about DNA the more we learn that we don’t know about DNA, and it’s not precise,” saiwd Abraham.

Abraham encouraged visitors to the gathering to ask more questions about their genetic identity and the ethics behind the issue.

For scientists and the public the future of genetic testing brings a lot to unpack. One thing is certain – all parties involved will be taking it one chromosome at a time.

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