Jean Dancer: We don't all want to know our future

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The Capacity to map one's own genome will soon be within reach of the ordinary man or woman for a mere $1,000, courtesy of the Californian outfit Life Technologies. To put that in perspective, the first complete human genome produced a decade ago cost $3bn. According to the company's spokesman, the new screening will allow patients to have "personalised medicine", showing them which drugs they should take and for which diseases they should be tested. And that's a good thing, right? Because information is power, isn't it? I'm not so sure.

As someone who has spent many years suffering from various illnesses, would I have prefered to know what was coming down the track? The answer is probably no. It is hard to see how I could have avoided the common and not-so-common viruses that have beset me, other than by going about in a plastic bubble.

As for the spinal degeneration that led to my disc tearing while kite-surfing, it could have happened to anyone. But had a doctor warned me it might, I would have stayed inside and tried not to bump into the furniture. The stress of inactivity and worry for the future would have taken its own toll. Frankly, I would rather remain blissfully ignorant and spend the money saved from not knowing on enjoying myself now.

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