Concurso DNA DAY 2012

Neste concurso promovido pela Sociedade Europeia de Genética Humana participou com o entusiasmo que lhe é próprio a Rita Roque, aluna do 12º ano de curso CCH – Ciências e Tecnologias.

[DNA Sequencing is now a reality and, in the near future, an affordable one as this study of the genes will cost less than a thousand Euros. Would you participate gladly in this experiment? Would you like to know all the diseases that you are likely to develop in the future or would you prefer to stay in the shadows and «let it be? ». The ethic questions related to science are always full with controversy and show very delicate visions of the world and of the human being. This one is not an exception.]

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – that’s the well known phrase immortalized by the Hollywood film Forrest Gump. However, the development of science has already found a way to predict how the next piece of candy will taste. I’m referring to the genome sequencing and what this new study of the DNA will bring to our life; with this recent experiment, an individual will be able to discover the genetic diseases or manifestations he may suffer in the future.

The first opinion we express would be, surely, a positive one that approves this new procedure as people would be able to prevent more effectively a disease they don’t yet have but that will develop with time. With this self knowledge an individual can adapt his habits to avoid or just diminish the impact of a disease. Thanks to this study, a person would be warned about the bittersweet chocolates in the box and could prepare himself or herself before biting one.

However, I personally wouldn’t want to be warned about those bad candies that can´t be avoided at all; a known danger of disease could grow a sense of constant fear about the future and we are here to live the present. But, if an early diagnosis could save a person’s life I agree with all my heart that he/she should be warned about it. So I believe that there should be a balance between «a truly necessary warning with a life depending reason» and «discovering it now would not change a thing and could only worry you ». Therefore, if I decide to sequence my genome, I would ask my doctor about the list of diseases I could develop and, if they were worth knowing (if they could be prevented right away) or would just change my life in a negative way without a reason (if they were incurable and the habits I have now would not affect it in any way). In the first case, I would like to know where the bad piece of candy would be and how I could prepare myself to face it when it arrived. However, in the second case, I wouldn’t like to know as I would become focused on a disease I wouldn’t have at the moment.

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