Tag Archives: identity

Personal Genome Project Entrance Exam

In 2001, the Human Genome Project published a working draft of the human genome sequence, thus providing unprecedented advances in our knowledge of how a human works. The PGP makes sequencing personal. Just like the personal computer brought information technology to individuals, the PGP brings DNA sequencing to individuals.

So a while back I registered to the Personal Genome Project after they initally decoded the genome of their first ten participants and called for 10,000 volunteers to sign up for the potential to share their genome sequence and other personal information with the scientific community and the general public. (View example public profile pages here) To be considered, volunteers must pass an entrance exam to ensure a clear understanding of what it is they are getting themselves into and have an understanding of genomes and DNA and the bigger ethical picture of the Personal Genome Project.

I am currently working my way through the PGP study guide provided by the Alan and Priscilla Oppenheimer Foundation and hoping to fill in the gaps about the DNA and genome sequencing basics as well as use this as an insight into the PGP’s ethical considerations and risk legislation of sharing  personal details to the public. I am not too sure if I really am aware of the implications and would say that this process is informing my ethical and moral position on predicitve gene testing and the PGP.

Question: Why do I have to take an exam to participate in the PGP?
Answer: The PGP takes informed consent very seriously and believes that an exam is the best way to ensure that you have the knowledge necessary to understand the benefits and risks associated with participating in the project.

For those interested in contributing their genetic material to the PGP check out their participation page

Tampa Bay reveals mugshots of recently arrested individuals or guilty until proven innocent criminals?

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A new website that i am currently fascinated by publishes the mugshots of recent arrested individuals from public police databases from various counties in Florida with the opening tagline “Meet 153 people who were arrested in the last 24 hours in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties” and has created an ethical debate around issues of the privacy of individuals whether criminals or not.

The site has been constructed by a newspaper company who host Tampa bay.com and has attracted huge amount of traffic offering great voyeuristic potential. Each alleged criminal has their own set of data detailing location and type of offense including various details of the individuals socio-demographic status.On their timeline feature you can also look at all alleged criminals over the past 60 days at which point all individuals data is removed from the site and untraceable by Google.

How soon might this be implemented in the uk and combined with its notorious criminal database?

What implications would it have on your “future lifeprojections” and “future status update” services offered at the FATE Institute?

Would it act if it were a social networking app for Facebook and Iphone? Who has the same background as you, who has recently been arrested that has the same surname as you? Who has the same age, gender and weight categories as you, this is pure curiosity/voyeurism for the sake of it thanks to some innovative multimedia shenanigans. The software that was used to scrape the data and visualise it was called Django

Other relevant sites:

Mapping death tolls from stabbing in the UK

Visualising the 9/11 terrorist attack

A visualisation of what nuclear explosions would do to cities around the world

Memory maybe stored in our dna and can be passed on to our offspring: is this where pastlives come from?

Could memories be stored by making modifications to your DNA? link

To remember a particular event, a specific sequence of neurons must fire at just the right time. For this to happen, neurons must be connected in a certain way by chemical junctions called synapses. But how they last over decades, given that proteins in the brain, including those that form synapses, are destroyed and replaced constantly, is a mystery. Now Courtney Miller and David Sweatt of the University of Alabama in Birmingham say that long-term memories may be preserved by a process called DNA methylation – the addition of chemical caps called methyl groups onto our DNA. With various experiments on mice using shock treatments, Miller and Sweatt   “_think we’re seeing short-term memories forming in the hippocampus and slowly turning into long-term memories in the cortex,” says Miller, who presented the results last week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC.

Can experiences be passed on to offspring? link

What was your mother up to before you were even a twinkle in her eye? You might not think it matters, but it seems that in mice at least, mothers that receive mental training before they become pregnant can pass on its cognitive benefits to their young. Previous studies in both people and animals have shown that a mother’s experiences while pregnant can affect her offspring’s gene expression and health, even years later. However, it was not known if experiences prior to pregnancy had an effect. Larry Feig at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and his colleagues bred “knockout” mice that lacked a gene called Ras-GRF-2, causing them to have a memory defect. Normally, if mice in a cage receive a shock to their feet, they freeze in fear if they are then placed back into the same cage. In contrast, Ras-GRF2 knockout mice did not associate the cage with fear.

Identifying the voter

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Catalist is a privately financed large-scale political data-mining shop and has documented the political activity of every American 18 and older: where they registered to vote, how strongly they identify with a given party, what issues cause them to sign petitions or make donations. Catalist offers progressive organizations access to a national database of voting-age individuals in the United States. Their databases are fed by 450 commercially and privately available data layers as well as firsthand info collected by the campaigns. Candidates are then able to target voters from ever-smaller niches. Not just blue-collar white males, but married, home-owning white males with a high school diploma and a gun in the household. Not just Native Americans, but Native Americans earning more than $80,000 who recently registered to vote.

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