Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Commonplace Corporate Genetic Testing of Employees Harbingers Back to Sci-Fi Flick GATTACA

""In the 1997 science fiction film GATTACA, society is dominated by a system of eugenics, where potential children are conceived through genetic manipulation. The main character, Vincent Freeman, is conceived outside the eugenics system and fights to overcome genetic discrimination in a society that engineers humans to possess the best hereditary traits of their parents.

Nearly 20 years after the film debuted, corporations today are starting to head in the same direction as GATTACA. Eugenics programs could be the way of the future as employers start separating acceptable employees from genetic "invalids" using new genetic testing procedures.

In fact, corporations are looking to new genetic testing programs to see if they can predict the probability of disease in future employees. The technology is said to help companies avoid hiring employees who take extra sick time and is supposed to help the companies cut down health expenses altogether.

Alternatively, the technology could be used to predict when an employee is diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes before the conditions develop. In this way, wellness programs can be adapted to help companies coach employees into nutrition and exercise prevention strategies before the conditions show up.

Important questions concerning the validity and ethics of genetic testing

However well intentioned, could these genetic testing programs actually be the beginning of eugenics programs where valid human workers are separated from "invalids" as seen in the movie GATTACA?

Is genetic testing even a legitimate model for predicting metabolic conditions like diabetes and heart disease anyway?

Since genes are influenced by so many environmental factors throughout one's life, how can one's DNA at birth or at any time during their life be the ultimate deciding factor for their disease risk factor the rest of their life?

Shouldn't wellness programs look at environmental exposures and employee habits before they rely on genetic testing as the excuse for the health problems?

How can we rely on the validity and wherewithal of genetic testing alone if the average infant's genes are influenced by multiple injections of toxins like mercury preservative and aluminum adjuvant from vaccines?

If the study of epigenetics shows that these toxic elements influence a person's DNA, then how can we blame heredity on any kind of disease that shows up in a person's life?

Six large companies about to begin genetic testing of employees

Genetic testing of employees has other hurdles to cross as well. Will employees want to share sensitive heredity and health information with their employer? Everyone has a right to their own privacy. Will privacy be neglected as medical research prepares the population for soft core eugenics programs?

Health insurer Aetna and Newtopia from Canada are already taking strides to create personalized health improvement programs that require physicals and blood tests to determine an employee's risk for certain metabolic syndromes. While the programs aim to eliminate heart disease, stroke and diabetes, they are now incorporating genetic testing into the mix. The tests attempt to analyze bands of genes that may express an employee's likelihood to eat compulsively or whether their body is able to process carbohydrates or fats.

Is genetic testing useful and helpful for individuals or is it just a way to micromanage who is worthy to work in a perfect society and who is not fit or "invalid?"""




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