Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Genes Will Tell [on you]

Genes Will Tell

by Beth Hawkins

SEN. RANDY KELLY (DFL-St. Paul) likes to engage in the kind of debate that, in his parlance, makes "people think outside the box." Which is exactly where he was reportedly going when he recently invited a Plymouth geneticist to address a state Senate panel about crime prevention. The scientist, Genovus Inc. Chairman John Offerman, was happy to go because he's anxious to sell the state on a new method of taking DNA fingerprints from prisoners.

But Kelly wanted to expose his colleagues to the possibility that criminals might someday be "fixed" using gene therapy. If we'll be able to correct criminal behavior medically within 15 or 20 years, he has speculated, should Minnesota build a new prison?

Technology has a way of reopening seemingly settled debates on privacy rights, and the technology surrounding genetics is moving faster than anyone anticipated. To date, Kelly hasn't introduced any genetics legislation. But even as policymakers and privacy activists debate what kind of DNA profiles government should be permitted to keep, speculation that gene therapy might eventually "cure" criminals is opening yet another Pandora's box.

Read more at City Pages.com.

What if you and your 13-year-old child carries this "criminal gene"? Should you both be sterilized?

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