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Health

Think twins!

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMarch 14, 2011 6:40 AM

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In the comments below, John Howard asks in relation to me releasing my genotype into the public domain: "I’m curious if this means you give permission to be cloned, or for someone to reproduce with you, by making gametes from your genome. Do you think other people have the right to do that?" I'll be honest that I laughed when I first saw this comment. My genome is not magical. If someone wants to make more of me (and I can see why they'd want to do that), I probably wouldn't mind. My siblings are versions of me diluted by a factor of 1/2, if you want to think in terms of blending analogies. But the biggest issue is this: identical twins already share very concordant genomes, and no one would presume that one twin should have a right to a say in the use of the genome of the other twin. Then again, John Howard runs a website EggsAndSperm.org, "Dedicated to stopping genetic engineering of human beings, and preserving individual conception rights for all people. All people should be created equal, by the union of a woman and a man." Now, imagine

that identical twins did not exist.

How would you feel about the idea of someone with a nearly identical genome? I think people would be very disturbed by the concept, and I'm sure philosophers would cook up all sorts of bioethical conundrums. But since identical twins do exist, we understand that the whole phenomenon is pretty banal after the first blush of novelty. Genes are not magic. They're a start. Fear not DNA. It is not the alpha & the omega.

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