The Berkeley Swab

Not your father's UC orientation, that's for sure:

UC Berkeley is adding something a little different this year in its welcome package -- cotton swabs for a DNA sample. [...]

The students will be asked to voluntarily submit a DNA sample. The cotton swabs will come with two bar code labels. One label will be put on the DNA sample and the other is kept for the students own records.

The confidential process is being overseen by Jasper Rine, a campus professor of Genetics and Development Biology, who says the test results will help students make decisions about their diet and lifestyle. [...]

Rine hopes that this will excite students to be more hands-on with their college experience.

Link via Daniel Hernandez's Twitter feed.

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  • ||

    Um, well, er, fuck no.

  • ||

    Pro'L Dib's DNA is sacred! The Kwittheshitz Hadenough must never be replicated! All hail Pro'L Dib.

    (I'm quite sure the Wife of Pro'L Dib regards his DNA seed sacred too!)

  • Brett L||

    Huh. I didn't know they were Catholic.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    You guys and your elaborate Dune references.

  • ||

    They're Orange Catholic.

  • Tman||

    Sure, what could possibly go wrong?

    http://datatheft.berkeley.edu/

    UC Berkeley computer administrators determined on April 21, 2009, that electronic databases in University Health Services had been breached by overseas criminals. The databases stored personally identifiable information used for billing such as Social Security numbers, and non-treatment medical information such as immunization history, UHS medical record number, dates of visits or names of providers seen, or for participants in the Education Abroad Program, certain information from the self-reported health history.

    But THIS time, we promise we won't lose anything. Or give it to insurance companies to help deny your claims. Or use it to tie you to some criminal activity.

    We PROMISE.

  • ||

    Or give it to insurance companies to help deny your claims

    Why would that be a problem?

    Insurance companies just want to weed out people with pre-existing conditions anyway. Those people are trying to defraud the poor insurance companies.

    Giving them that info just makes the market better. I mean if you had a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses insurance companies deserve to know so they can refuse to pay for that shit.

  • Tman||

    Why would that be a problem?

    Because it's against the law. Specifically, HIPAA.

    Insurance companies just want to weed out people with pre-existing conditions anyway. Those people are trying to defraud the poor insurance companies.

    Unlike government run healthcare, which never denies anyone for anything and IT'S FREE!!!

    Giving them that info just makes the market better. I mean if you had a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses insurance companies deserve to know so they can refuse to pay for that shit.

    Who do you think will do this first, the government or businesses?

  • ||

    Because it's against the law. Specifically, HIPAA.

    True. Until HIPAA is amended to include genetic analysis done as part of a regular or initial H&P workup submitted to insurance companies or government, whoever gets that flag first will use it.

  • Tman||

    whoever gets that flag first will use it.

    True, and also incredibly depressing and scary at the same time. Minority Report here we come.

  • ||

    I would think more like Gattaca.

  • ||

    It is hard to get into Berkley. Rest assured the little suck ass careerst liberals who managed to ass kiss their way into grades good enough to get in will gladly give up their DNA. A few drunken idiot son legacies might have the sense and the balls to say no. But the rest of the sheep won't.

  • Federal Dog||

    In which event, Berkeley is admitting not only abject sheep, but obvious idiots to boot.

  • correctatdor||

    It is hard to get into Berkley.


    Correction. It used to be hard to get into Berkeley. Affirmative action quotas makes it quite easy now if you are the right combination of victim groups and all but impossible if you are not.

  • ||

    The University of California doesn't explicitly employ affirmative action based on race.

  • ||

    So, if they don't admit it, then they don't "explicitly" practice racial discrimination?

    -jcr

  • Baff||

    Preemptive Rape Kit

  • mr simple||

    You know it would probably be a good idea for them to just tattoo the barcode onto the students. That way there is no fear of losing it.

  • ||

    And GPS trackers. That way they can never lose one. I bet the parents would love it.

  • ||

    I bet the parents would love it.

    So would any potential stalkers in the bursars and student services offices.

  • Brett L||

    Swab your dog, or some random person of the opposite sex. GIGO.

  • The Other Kevin||

    Bad idea. What if that dog rapes the dean's chihuahua? Guess who they will come after?

  • ||

    I'd do my cat and see what happens.

  • ||

    That cat would bite and scratch you. Or did you mean "do" with the swab?

  • Ragin Cajun||

    I still don't think the cat will like to be "done" with the swab.

  • ||

    Maybe buy it a drink first.

  • ||

    Mozart and catnip.

  • Brett L||

    Is it smaller than the vet's thermometer?

  • ||

    Well I'd just get the DNA first and see what happens . . .

  • ||

    Can they get DNA from a flaming bag of shit left on the Provost's front porch?

  • ||

    Depends on if you ejaculated on it this time JW. "It" includes either the bag o'doo or the Provost's porch (double entendre here intended. This IS Berkeley, after all).

  • Fidelio||

    Swab this!

  • WTF||

    Rine hopes that this will excite students to be more hands-on with their college experience.

    If I get excited and hands-on, I might end up leaving a DNA sample for them.

  • Federal Dog||

    Man, the number of ways cops could someday use that shit -- whether you're innocent or guilty -- is hard to fathom. Only idiots would comply.

  • ||

    yea, but this is UC Berkeley. idiots , and ESPECIALLY freshman idiots (tm) are as common as rain in seattle

  • ||

    I think slippery slope should be eliminated as an informal fallacy. The potential I see for abuse is so great, it is of Orwellian and Huxleyan proportions. I could see NICUs including DNA information as part of a formal birth certificate. Keeping cord blood stored for later use is not uncommon and testing cord blood post partum for allergies is routine medical practice. I don't see why including a DNA panel would be any more difficult. For medical and identification purposes, of course. (winks)

  • ||

    This was in response to:

    Tman|5.18.10 @ 3:24PM|#

    Identity theft alone is a good reason to have a problem with this. Adding more personally identifying information data to an easily breached database is just not a wise thing to do.

    (full disclosure- I resolve ID theft cases for a living. Medical ID theft is easily one of the WORST forms of ID theft.)

    User FAIL on my part.

  • Joe_D||

    I don't think this is a problem. What's the big risk here?, that the info will be stolen and used to deny you of medical care or make it more expensive? That law enforcement will tap the database to investigate crimes? The people will laugh at you because they know you'll probably go bald someday?

    If a my healthcare provider wants my DNA, they can get it, even without my knowledge. The only crimes where DNA evidence is likely to be useful are real crimes, and them having my DNA is more likely to screen me out as a suspect.

    This seems like a fun thing to do when you're entering college... and it's benign, and it's voluntary.

    Why would anyone get in a tizzy over this?

  • Tman||

    Identity theft alone is a good reason to have a problem with this. Adding more personally identifying information data to an easily breached database is just not a wise thing to do.

    (full disclosure- I resolve ID theft cases for a living. Medical ID theft is easily one of the WORST forms of ID theft.)

  • ||

    As DNA databases grow, the possibility of a false match also grows. If the database of samples is composed, say, of only convicted felons that is one thing. But if the database has say 100 million people in it, the idea that "the chance of a false positive match is only 1 in 100 million" is no longer very comforting.

    This is especially so since the general public (eg jury pools) have been brainwashed by CSI, etc to think DNA is infallible. God help you if a DNA sample is taken from a murdered child and it's a false match with your DNA.

  • Tman||

    This kind of thing happens on a daily basis WITHOUT DNA. It will only get worse as more variables are involved.

  • ||

    At least they won't keep tabs on what books they check out of the library, 'cuz, like, that's a bridge way to far.
    Although, you just know that someone who bitched about the patriot act as 'constitutional shredding' came up with this head fake/ misdirection line about this procedure : ...it will help students make decisions about their diet and lifestyle...

  • Mallory Ringess||

    Dude... they're trying to slell your DNA!

  • correctatdor||

    Correction. They are trying to genetically engineer the perfect engineer.

  • ||

    I have a story for anyone who thinks you can just lock this information up and never use it for law enforcement purposes. When I was Fort Hood there was a rape in one of the barracks. We knew it was a soldier and had DNA. Now every soldier's DNA is contained in a database. It is, however, supposed to be used for only medical purposes, i.e. to identify your body if you get blown up. There is a federal law that says you can't run LE searches in the database. So, we didn't and the crime was left unsolved.

    Well, the media got a hold of the story and the victim's parents got on 48 hours. And the Army was racked over the coals for this case. Only it being against federal law prevent the Army from rolling.

    In a similar situation, no way does Berkley doesn't roll. And once it is used once, no way is it not then used routinely for LE purposes.

    As a side note, the rapist was eventually caught. But it was only after he killed two people and shot another one in a Easter Sunday rampage. Had the Army looked in the database, he would have been in jail and not killed those people. Sometimes privacy does come with a price.

  • ||

  • ||

    joe d : 'Why would anyone get in a tizzy over this?'

    If the only person who had control of the sample was the student, I would agree with you.

    Remember the 'anonymous' drug testing in MLB? 'Somehow' 'someone' 'leaked' the results and several players had to answer for something they were told would 'never' be revealed. You aren't naive enough to really believe that DNA samples could 'never' be used in a nefariuos way are you?

  • Media||

    Yeah but because they were guilty of using banned substances, it's a good thing we got ahold of the story. Now we've preserved the sanctity of baseball while further disgracing Jose Canseco.

  • ||

    If Duke University had a library of DNA samples like this, just imagine how many lacrosse players I could have indicted and convicted!

  • ||

    You guys talk like there could be unintended consequences from bureaucratic initiatives like this. When has that ever happened? When has a bureaucratic or "progressive" initiative intended for our own good ever resulted in unintended consequences?

  • celtigirl||

    ... who says the test results will help students make decisions about their diet and lifestyle.

    Maybe times have changed since I graduated college, but even the stupidest freshman once knew how to binge drink & find the cheapest pizza around w/o DNA test results!

  • West Texas Boy||

    Did I miss something about whether this is anonymous? It does say, "confidential" in the article, but that seems more like sloppy journalism given the description of the process: two barcodes, one goes on the sample, one goes home with the student. Presumably, the student anonymously goes onto a website and enters his code to see the results (note: do it from the computer lab and not your dorm room, coeds! Wait - do they even have computer labs anymore? Sheesh.)

    Yes, kind of intrusive if the college keeps a record of each individual's sequence, but that doesn't seem to be what's happening. It appears to be anonymous, and if so, it might actually prove informative and helpful to the students.

    Dunno, just seems like not enough information here to jump to conclusions like some of you guys want to do.

  • Doc||

    Ah college profs...wonder if they actually got IRB approval for this or just winging it?

  • ||

    If I were Berkley's administrators, I'd be worried about possible violations of GINA. Many of those students will likely end up as student employees, and it is illegal for employers to ask for or otherwise obtain genetic information about employees except when complying with other laws.

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  • han||

    It's too early

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