Resolved: This house believes that people's DNA sequences are their business, and nobody else's.


The above proposition is being debated over at the Economist magazine by University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Arthur Caplan and pioneering human genome sequencer Craig Venter. Caplan argues:

The main reason why your DNA and any data derived from it should be yours to control is that they are intimately linked to your personal identity. And your identity is an asset that should not be taken from you or accessed without your express permission.

Venter basically replies genetic privacy is dead, so just get over it and help humanity out: 

In this world of instant internet, Facebook and Twitter, access to information about seemingly everything and everyone, the idea that we can keep anything completely confidential is becoming as antiquated as the typewriter…So while we all have a right to disclose or not to disclose, we have to move on from the equally antiquated notion that genetic information is somehow sacred, to be hidden and protected at all costs. If we ever hope to gain medical value from human genetic information for preventing and treating disease, we have to understand what it can tell us and what it cannot. And most of all we have to stop fearing our DNA.

Genes are not occult or special, and while they can be used to identify you, they are certainly not your identity.

Dip into the debate here