When: Mon., Nov. 8, 7 p.m. 2010
When it comes to keeping one's personal information private, the spectrum runs, it's been said, from those who would sooner poke out their eye than divulge their Social Security number to those who would sell their genetic code for a Big Mac. Then there's Misha Angrist. His genome will soon be public knowledge, available to everyone on the Internet. He didn't trade it for McDonald's coupons, though; he donated it to the cause of scientific progress.
Angrist is an assistant professor at Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, which qualified him to be among the first subjects of the Personal Genome Project now under way at Harvard. The project hopes to enlist 100,000 volunteers, whose base pairs will be matched with their medical records and physical data to help researchers continue in their quest to crack the DNA code. In his new book, Here is a Human Being: At the Dawn of Personal Genomics, Angrist discusses the scientific, legal and philosophical repercussions of this new era in research, which is moving from genetics, the study of single genes, to genomics, the study of the complicated interplay of genes en masse. The potential benefits are vast; the potential downside is one reason why they invented the job "medical ethicist." The reading and book signing starts at 7 p.m. —Marc Maximov