Are we nearing DNA dystopia?
A recent essay from the University of Maryland and Georgia State University shows a growing number of genetic paparazzi.
(Photo : JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP via Getty Images)
Researchers from the Auragen laboratory prepare the sequencing of human genomes to better identify rare diseases, in Lyon, central-estern France, on February 23, 2022.
What is a Genetic Paparazzi?
A genetic paparazzi are people on a mission to hunt and obtain the DNA of notable figures of interest, ie, celebrities and politicians. This may be due to the growing interest in genetics technology that is now becoming mainstream.
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The Rise of Genetics Technology
Genetic technology has been around for a while, but it hasn’t become mainstream until recently. The cost of genome sequencing has lowered in recent years.
Having the ability to trace one’s ancestors or find out what their future holds is now a possibility. This interest has piqued the interest of many, with some even going to great lengths to obtain DNA samples. This has led to people being caught in various circumstances as they hunt for the next big celebrity or politician.
Now with more and more people having access to genetics technology and with an ever-growing community of geneticists and genealogists, people are also starting to more actively pursue DNA of public figures. This has led to a rise in DNA detectives/geneticists that are on a mission to sniff out the DNA of famous people.
The Law is Alarmed
The growing interest in genetics and the big rise in DNA paparazzi has alarmed the legal community. Up until now, DNA collection has been reserved for criminal cases.
Now, with the rise of private testing companies, families are taking their own DNA and that of deceased genetic relatives. This has led to a rise in the number of requests for people’s DNA that is not linked to a criminal case. With this in mind, the legal community is trying to figure out how to deal with the growing number of requests like a recent case in which a judge ruled that a man could be compelled to give a DNA sample to his adult children.
The Future of Genetic Paparazzi
With the interest in expanding DNA technology, and the growing number of genetic paparazzi on the prowl for famous people, the legal system is trying to figure out how to handle these requests. However, this is likely just the beginning of the genetic paparazzi. As the technology continues to expand, more and more people will have access to it, and with this in mind, there will likely be a rise in these requests.
With the growing interest in genetics, it is likely that this trend will continue in the future and that the legal system will address controversial cases as they arise.
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Written by April Fowell
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