Welcome, reader! According to Antony Hegarty in this second decade of the new century our future is determined. What will it be? Stays all the same and do we sink away in the mud or is something new coming up? In this blog I try to follow new cultural developments.

Welkom, lezer! Volgens Antony Hegarty leven we in bijzondere tijden. In dit tweede decennium van de eenentwintigste eeuw worden de lijnen uitgezet naar de toekomst. Wat wordt het? Blijft alles zoals het is en zakken we langzaam weg in het moeras van zelfgenoegzaamheid of gloort er ergens iets nieuws aan de horizon? In dit blog volg ik de ontwikkelingen op de voet. Als u op de hoogte wilt blijven, kunt u zich ook aanmelden als volger. Schrijven is een avontuur en bloggen is dat zeker. Met vriendelijke groet, Rein Swart.

Laat ik zeggen dat literaire kritiek voor mij geen kritiek is, zolang zij geen kritiek is op het leven zelf. Rudy Cornets de Groot.

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas.

Het is juist de roman die laat zien dat het leven geen roman is. Bas Heijne.

In het begin was het Woord, het Woord was bij God en het Woord was God. Johannes.

donderdag 13 oktober 2011

Lone Frank, a Danish neurobiologist on genetics, Gesprek op 2, the 9th of October 2011

Lone loves her genome.

Daphne Bunskoek asks Lone how she once decided to get to know her own personal genetical profile.
Lone answers that before long genetics was for experts, but now it is for consumers. One can do all kinds of tests. In this era of consumergenetics we can have our genome mapped out. She started with a genealogical test to see what kind of diseases were present in her family and found out that she has a risk for glaucomy, but fortunately not for Alzheimer. Further on she did a test for breastcancer, on which she scored lower than average. She likes to know all these information. The more one knows, the more interested one becomes, she says.

Dahpne asks how accurate such a test is.
Lone says it is about risks, counted in percentages. By these tests one learns to deal with risks. Diets and the environment have an big influence on the genome. The genes are like a hand of cards. They can be switch on or off. Behavioural genetics tell us how we cope with stress. Creative persons seem to have more sensitive genes. After a happy youth they will have a sunny live, but after a bad youth they will have fears and depressions.
Lone also is sensitive to depression. Knowing that, at first she thought: I lost, but later she discovered that she can profit by this knowledge by thinking that those are just her biological genes speaking. The mind is stronger than the genes. Genes don’t determine us. A test showed that a collegue would fit better next to her than her boyfriend, but she decided to stay with her boyfriend.   

Would you recommend this kind of testing to someone?
When a person worries a lot. I advice this person to see a doctor to help with the interpretation of the results. The tests are still in an early stage. More complex situations cannot be examined yet.

What is the personality?
A filter in the mind. There is a five factor model test, based on science, which show five dimensions of the personality quite accurate.  
Daphne knows that Lone is low on that test on friendliness and altruïsm, but Lone is comfortable with that. Since she is quite straight about her opinions, not everybody likes her and that is fine with her.

Daphne asks about a dangers of genetics, like making a better race and destroying the imperfect.
Lone says that it helps to stop discrimination between people. Tests show there is little variation between human beings from different races. So knowledge can also be a remedy.

How about the ethical dilemmas? What is acceptable?
The tests on foetusses will definitely expand. Lone doesn’t feel the need to keep her own data for herself. They are not private.

Is she not scared that the data can be used by employers during an application for a job for instance?
In the U.S. there is legislation that an insurancecompagny or a employer cannot use your data against you. People don’t need to be scared to keep it private, because it is not telling all about you.

It is remarkable that Lone is almost addicted to know about her genes and at the same time says that they don’t’say so much. That environment and diets influennce our genes. That is a fascinating point of view. We are not anymore determined by our genes but we can influence them by living a healthy life. 

Lone Frank published in 2011 My Beautiful genome, translated in Dutch as Mijn supergenen

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