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12/4/19: MR. MUTATO HEAD

Clyde Lewis | December 4, 2019
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I know that in the past I have presented information about DNA and genetic experimentation. While many people really don’t stop to think about how they put their DNA everywhere, it is becoming a scary world out there for all of us that wonder just what is the potential for DNA research and things like epigenetics.

The fact that you leave genetic information behind on discarded tissues, used coffee cups, and smoked cigarettes everywhere you go is generally of little consequence.

Trouble arises, however, when third parties retrieve this scattered debris of everyday life for the genetic information you have left behind. These third parties may be the police, and the regulation over their ability to collect this evidence is unclear.

The police are not the only people who are interested in your genetic information. Curious stalkers, nosy third parties, and blackmailers may also hope to gain information from the DNA of both public and private figures, and collecting and analyzing this genetic information without consent is startlingly easy to do.

The rapid proliferation of companies offering direct-to-consumer genetic testing at ever lower prices means that both the technology and incentives to commit DNA theft exist. Yet in nearly every American jurisdiction, DNA theft is not a crime. Rather, the nonconsensual collection and analysis of another person’s DNA is virtually unconstrained by law.

This is why I always lament the fact that many of our politicians act as if they are still living in the 20th century. They would rather rally around old push-button issues and indulge in self-aggrandizement than taking on issues that will shape our future.

The proliferation of direct-to-consumer DNA tests that are increasingly inexpensive and readily accessible means that these third parties may attempt to collect and analyze anyone’s DNA without consent.

Companies like 23andMe, Navigenics, and deCODEme, promise to trace your genealogical family tree but they also identify predispositions to various diseases and health conditions. A saliva DNA collection kit bought at your local Walgreens for less than three hundred dollars might be just around the corner.

What is more, in most American jurisdictions, the non-consensual collection of human tissue for the purposes of analyzing DNA, or “DNA theft”, is not a crime or even a civil violation for that matter.

As long as consumers pay for these tests and spit in a cup to find out where they came from the theft will continue.

If you want to know how bad it is getting all you have to do is mention the Chinese and how they are actually pushing the borders of science by stealing DNA from the Muslim minority groups that they have whisked off to detention camps.

Officials there have gathered blood samples from hundreds of predominantly Muslim groups as part of a mass DNA collection effort dogged by questions about consent and how the data will be used.

There is at least one answer.

Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face.

The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects.

Experts on ethics in science worry that China is building a tool that could be used to justify and intensify racial profiling and other state discrimination against whomever they claim is resisting their tyrannical control.

In the long term, experts say, it may even be possible for the Communist government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into the mass surveillance and facial recognition systems that it is building, tightening its grip on society by improving its ability to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.

Some of this research is taking place in labs run by China’s Ministry of Public Security, and at least two Chinese scientists working with the ministry on the technology have received funding from respected institutions in Europe. International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the origin of the DNA used in the studies or vetting the ethical questions raised by collecting such samples.

So the question is how are they getting these samples?

The government collects samples under the veneer of a mandatory health checkup program.

The United States is not too far off from implementing the same measures as China—and what is most disconcerting is that it will all be legal.

The great majority of American jurisdictions, including the federal government, do not criminalize the non-consensual collection of human tissue for the purposes of analyzing DNA.

DNA theft is generally unconstrained by law.

We all know that medial groups and businesses likely already collecting and analyzing genetic information from others who probably would not have consented to it.

With DNA theft, the incentives exist, the technology is available, and the costs for engaging in it are decreasing all the time. Indeed, a surprising amount of information about one’s medical predispositions, family ties, or ancestry can be discovered for a few hundred dollars. The scientific community has already expressed concerns about what it has identified as DNA theft, gene-mapping, or genetic identify theft, but legal scholars and legislators have largely ignored the topic.

In China, many of the Muslim prisoners and even some dissident civilians are tracked down with the help of DNA extraction. These individuals usually disappear without a trace. After the government rounds them up and takes them to detainment camps — bulldozers are ordered to come in and turn these neighborhoods into rubble.

Growing numbers of scientists and human rights activists say the Chinese government is exploiting the openness of the international scientific community to harness research into the human genome for questionable purposes.

Already, China is exploring using facial recognition technology to sort people by ethnicity.

Basically they are using DNA technologies to hunt people.

Of course, the general populace there are complacent because they did nothing to prevent this when it first was being abused — they were not informed and there were no laws even proposed to stop the tyrannical use of DNA theft.

China has the world’s largest DNA database, with more than 80 million profiles since July. Apparently the Chinese learned all of this from the west as The U.S. drive for DNA gathering is going unchecked as well.

To bolster their DNA capabilities, scientists affiliated with China’s police used equipment made by Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts company. They also relied on genetic material from people around the world that was provided by Kenneth Kidd, a prominent Yale University geneticist.

While most American jurisdictions do not currently recognize a distinct DNA theft offense, the fact that it exists or is under contemplation in other countries supports the idea that a new offense merits serious consideration.

What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, ‘How could anyone be worried about these technologies?

This should be of concern in large part because of the expansive direct-to-consumer genetic testing market that permits testing for paternity, ancestry, fetal genetics, and health conditions based on cheek swabs or other similar samples. While dozens of American companies offer hundreds of tests, neither the laboratories nor the tests themselves are regulated very closely under current law.

I know that there are a lot of people who listen to me and think that this won’t affect them but it will and whatever is happening in China can be avoided if we can get politicians to stop with their partisan reindeer games and start thinking about the future and where it is headed.

For example, in the U.K. it was announced that in the immediate future all children will be able to receive whole genome sequencing at birth. The tests would be routinely offered, alongside standard checks on newborns, in order to map out the risk of genetic diseases and offer “predictive, personalized” care.

The same steps are planned for adults with certain rare diseases and hard-to-treat cancers, with ambitions to sequence 5 million genomes in the UK within five years.

While these proposals sound beneficial, misuse of such information can be used in the same way China steals information in order to round up and make people disappear.

Beyond the benefits of these genetic projects, there was always the slippery slope of knowing that in the future a technocratic dictatorship or a scientific authority would somehow get a hold of your DNA and misuse it for experimentation and for uses in creating biological weapons, vaccines, cloning procedures and other experimental procedures that are not yet foreseen.

The ability to edit human genes and, consequently, actually engineer a human being from birth, is something we’ve always thought of as Gattaca-style science fiction.

Growing an edited embryo into a fully-fledged adult human wouldn’t just remove a health problem or, in the dystopian future model, create an augmented human. It would leave lasting changes that are passed on; something that many scientists say is desirable in the case of awful health problems, but much more questionable in the case of enhancements.

In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, society is rigidly split into five castes determined through embryonic modification. Much of the consternation surrounding the idea of “designer babies” is that germline editing could make Huxley’s dystopian vision of the future a reality.

At the moment, the prospect of a world populated by genetically modified humans is barely remaining only in the pages of science fiction.

However, we can look at what China is doing and realize that perhaps there is a definitive way of erasing a human from existence, all the way down to his basic DNA.

You may remember that Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui ignored ethical and scientific norms by genetically altering Chinese twins to immunize them against HIV.

Now it has been reported that the experiment may have failed.

The original research was made public yesterday by the MIT Technology Review to show how Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui ignored ethical and scientific norms in creating the twins Lula and Nana, whose birth in late 2018 sent shockwaves through the scientific world.

He made expansive claims of a medical breakthrough that could “control the HIV epidemic”, but it was not clear whether it had even been successful in its intended purpose – immunizing the babies against the virus because the team did not, in fact, reproduce the gene mutation that confers this resistance.

However, scientists are still finding a way to genetically design babies and they see success in the next two years.

Researchers have predicted the “ethically sound” creation of the so-called designer babies by 2022. It is expected to spark a revolution in a new wave of genetic modification of humans.

The rapid growth of these trends will, like it or not, continue to move exponentially into our nebulous future.

Once again, you now have a responsibility to be ready for the philosophical challenges that face us in the not too distant future. There is no more room for hate or misunderstanding – it is time for us to open our minds and learn about uncomfortable things and try to cope with the abrupt changes that come with future shock.

Keep in mind that changes like these in the human genetics line were once science fiction and we have not realized what would happen if a mutant reproduced.

Altering the human germline; in effect, tinkering with the very make-up of our species is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.

There are some that believe that doing so would bring about our virtual extinction.

Technology and advancements of science give us the ability to also implement measures of preventative medicine. Advancements in genetic research are ready to provide each parent with a blueprint of their child and even the ability to create designer children. This also gives parents a way to see if their child will be born with defects. Unfortunately, in the future, some parents might be pressured to abort a baby that may be considered undesirable.

Biotech companies are now offering test screenings for babies to detect Down’s syndrome. Abortion opponents fear that the technology may prompt more couples to terminate pregnancies. Advocates for the disabled worry that more of them may feel pressured to abort.

They also fear that if the number of those born with the condition dwindles, there could be more discrimination. Ask yourself honestly, if you knew that your child would be born with horrible defects, would you allow it to be born?

In the future, there would eventually no reason to have advocates for the disabled. The promise of transgenics and transhumanism means that this will all change.

Now breakthroughs have reached the mainstream and more and more people can no longer deny the reality that awaits us.

The prospect of designing our children and future generations is an issue of values and policy.

With all of the advantages, we may want to see there is the potential for a dystopian future along the lines of ‘Gattaca‘ or ‘Brave New World‘. This most certainly would overturn American notions of equality, opportunity and human rights.

It is also proposed that mapping a baby’s genome could kill its potential by placing it in a propensity class. The idea of a race of superior humans and having genetic defectives as slaves or working class would be the norm.

The idea of eliminating genetic defectives could win out in a world obsessed with concerns of worldwide sustainability.

This would be the dream of the Climate Change directive of 2030 — a master race that would exhale less Co2.

Furthermore, future goals would have to also include technologies and innovations that would convert humans into becoming adaptive to a new environment.

It would be a high-tech sustainable civilization on Earth, where our culture would be forced to alter our habits so that we would not run on an ecological deficit.

However, the Green Plan is sounding more like the Nazi plan as they are proposing the idea of the government having access to every citizen’s DNA.

The government is investigating the possibility of a universal genetic database that would contain only the limited genetic information; likely, a small subset of genetic markers with little medical relevance required for forensic identification.

It is being sold that such a registry would remove the bias associated with current collection methods, they say, as well as preventing the exposure of sensitive genetic information not relevant to law enforcement.

The government claims it can reduce well-documented reluctance to share useful genetic information among certain groups, particularly non-white ones already under-represented in biomedical research.

And limiting the scope of genetic records accessible by the government should also help head off concerns about Gattaca-esque genetic discrimination.

The truth is obvious – the government is eager for you to submit your DNA to them in order to carry out mass round-up programs for dissidents and scapegoats who they wish to hunt down and cull.

Much like what is happening in China.


China’s campaign of genetic terror poses a direct challenge to the scientific community and the way it makes cutting-edge knowledge publicly available. The campaign relies in part on public DNA databases and commercial technology, much of it made or managed in the United States.

Cooperation from the global scientific community legitimizes this type of genetic surveillance and if the process is developed in the USA – I am sure there are plenty of technocrats that would certainly endorse this type of genetic abuse of the rule of law.

In the United States, if you join the military they’re going to run genetic analysis. If you’re arrested and absolutely, if you’re convicted, your genes are going to be defined. Some healthcare systems do it too. And they don’t always rely on informed consent.

China’s situation is obvious – when a government loses its grip they will find a multitude of ways to survive, even at the expense of its people and what they are made of.

It is time that we demand that our businesses, educational institutions, and governments operate with a moral compass, instead of propping up authoritarian dictators because of political or financial expediency.

Written by Clyde Lewis

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