RON HART: 23andMe

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 16:25 PM.

Innovation is about trial and error, risk and entrepreneurship. In almost all successful startups that have had a positive influence on mankind, the government was not involved. Amazing things happen when government gets out of the way.

The Google-backed 23andMe survives in the genetics testing arena where others failed because of its deep-pocketed founders. Billionaire founder Sergey Brin’s wife (they are currently separated, as Brin will be from half of his money if they get divorced) spent millions having his personal DNA sequenced to determine what diseases he might be prone to, so he could be proactive in prevention. He used that model and made it available to the rest of us for just $99. As an accomplished hypochondriac, I had the test done and found that it agreed with many of my family health risks. It was of value.

It also identifies relatives for you. I have connected with several relatives through 23andMe. We Harts can now keep up with family members through this process and not our traditional way of monitoring police scanners.

DNA has dogged politicians from Thomas Jefferson to, recently, Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Democrat VP nominee John Edwards asked his assistant to steal a diaper from his baby mama to run a DNA test while claiming he was not the daddy. It turned out that both John Edwards and the diaper were full of the same thing.

The Supreme Court has ruled that human genetic DNA cannot be patented but that artificial DNA created to correct inherited genetic defects can. Every time there’s a new technology, the law has to adapt. Folks were probably worried when law enforcement began using fingerprinting in 1858, back when John McCain and Harry Reid were freshman senators.

Liberals want to control scientific data and interpret them as they please. As with global warming data, they do not trust anyone to form conclusions but themselves. And Democrats want laws on everything. It does not matter what the law is, as long as it is mandatory and unions are exempt.

Hard religious-right Republicans are suspicious of science for fear it might contradict the Bible.



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