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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sneaky DNA analysis to be outlawed

From New Scientist:
Genetic trophy hunters, beware. From Friday next week it will be illegal in the UK to covertly analyse someone's DNA.
part of the Human Tissue Act 2004
I can't help thinking that illegality won't be enough to stop this from happening. Clearly it will slow tabloid journalists looking for dirt on celebrities (to publish the results would require publishing an effective confession of having performed, or at least profited by, a criminal act; but who knows, perhaps concerns for "the public interest" may be permitted to override this) and it might deter some misguided employers who might otherwise be tempted, but as this can be done so easily, covertly and fairly inexpensively, I suspect that people who believe that there's some benefit in it are likely to do it anyway.

Cue Gattaca's gene-testing booth which helps young ladies (who have covertly obtained samples of their date's DNA) decide whether the genetic material provides an adequate basis for developing a relationship further.