Wednesday, August 07, 2002

The march of science
Antonio Regalado's article in yesterday's WSJ (which you must pay to read, unless you have Westlaw like me) on "RNA interference":
When the human genetic code was published last year, scientists realized they only knew what about 2% of our DNA was for. Equally disconcerting, about half of human DNA seemed to be not human at all, but rather a junkyard of debris left by eons of invasions by viruses and other parasites.
Check out the Y.

Unrelated: Interesting article in Science 5531 (2001) about the effect of new genetic research on the contingency of the concept of disease. Contains such chillingly obvious observations as:

Patients with a genetic variation who are at minimal or no increased risk for adverse consequences should not be labeled as diseased. If the definition of disease is based solely on a genetic abnormality rather than on a clear specification of the risk, the label may harm the patient. For example, treating genetic variations in the elderly may not only be unnecessary (because of the low risk of an adverse outcome), but may actually lead to deleterious side effects.
[The article is intelligent; what's chilling is that this must be explained to "scientists" and "doctors".]

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