Anybody who has watched a crime drama knows the trick. The cops need someone’s DNA, but they don’t have a warrant, so they invite the suspect to the station house, knowing some of the perp’s genetic material will likely be left behind. Bingo, crime solved. Next case.
A human sheds as much as 100 pounds of DNA-containing material in a lifetime and about 30,000 skin cells an hour. But who owns that DNA is the latest modern-day privacy issue before the US Supreme Court. At its core, the issue focuses on whether we must live in a hermetically sealed bubble to avoid potentially having our genetic traits catalogued and analyzed by the government.
The Supreme Court’s justices will meet privately on February 27 to consider putting a case with this science-fiction-like question on their docket. The dispute blends science, technology, genetic privacy, and a real-world, unspeakable crime against a woman.
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