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3/13: GENOMICS AUTHORITY

GENOMICS AUTHORITY

Today, I was reading an article in Paranoia Magazine that got me interested in old films again and by accident, I wandered through the internet and found out the Fritz Lang’s film, Metropolis, turns 90 today.

It was originally shown on March 13th, 1927.

While social themes play very important parts in Metropolis, the most interesting plot points can all be stemmed back to religious roots. From the first minute of the film, the allusions are there, with the biggest building in Metropolis being called “The New Babel,” even being modeled after Pieter Brueghel’s painting, The Tower of Babel.

At one point, a woman named Maria, a champion of the working class, tells the story of the tower of Babel, upon which would be written:

“Great is the world and its Creator! And great is Man!”

A charge that is most certainly used in the schools of enlightenment and alchemy—where throughout the reaches of time man shall become the “new man” – which of course is more like a God than man.

The parable of the Tower of Babel, found in Genesis 11, is most famous for explaining the creation of different languages and skin colors, and quite possibly another lesson in divisions because of DNA and bloodlines.

It illustrates social class structures, which reflected the struggles of an emerging democracy in the Weimar Republic.

It also was a reflection of history repeating itself as a people rise against God, and how the super state promises a Garden of Eden, and gives people a real sense of hell.

The differences in presentation between the upper level “thinkers’ and lower level “workers” of Metropolis can be seen as allusions to Heaven and Hell and eventually the crescendo leads to a super state apocalypse as the dead and dying are sacrificed to a machine called Moloch that is made to look like the devil’s mouth.

There has always been a struggle for world domination and that domination includes mass murder, genocide, and the oppression and enslavement of a group of people at the expense of the powerful and privileged.

In every history of the world, there always seems to be the meme of a savior that will somehow rise from the oppressed that will eventually be a selfless care giver to the weak.

Ninety years ago, the New World Order was already seen as the system of Babylon that will be implemented with a select elite living in luxury while a dehumanized mass work and live in a highly monitored hell.

I know that looking around, it may be uncomfortable to realize that our concepts of where humanity is going are changing. The present seems to have the appearance of the dark future that we have read about in the bible or have seen in a movie as brilliant as Metropolis.

Health care, DNA databases, genetics directives, and groups that have the power over life and death are now being put into play, and as we have reported the plan for DNA tests for things like health care, insurance and jobs will be standard as biometric screening will be used to determine eligibility to be either a thinker or a worker.

Always remember that ‘global sustainability’ can be achieved through a process known as ‘endgame or final solution strategies’. This includes control on ecological systems such as food, water and air. Using information on an implantable chip a government can utilize end game strategies by limiting and controlling your health care options, consumption of water, electricity, and use of transportation.

Those who are not chipped would have to obtain these services illegally. Those caught would be fined or imprisoned.

The society then becomes a technocratic wet dream where people are cataloged and treated as if they are machines or parts in an even bigger machine that serves the war profiteers and defense apparatus for the New World Order.

The frightening part is how they are judged and cataloged – it is through genetic testing.

The term “genetic testing” covers an array of techniques including analysis of human DNA, RNA, or protein. Genetic tests are used as a health care tool to detect gene variants associated with a specific disease or condition, as well as for non-clinical uses such as paternity testing and forensics. In the clinical setting, genetic tests can be performed to determine the genetic cause of a disease, confirm a suspected diagnosis, predict future illness, detect when an individual might pass a genetic mutation to his or her children, and predict response to therapy. They are also performed to screen newborns, fetuses, or embryos used in in vitro fertilization for genetic defects.

Genetic technologies are creating new sources of medical information for individuals, families, and communities that raise important ethical, legal, and social issues.

Biometric screening is also being implemented in order to determine nationality and curb illegal immigration.

Your genetic information is private or at least it should be.

Privacy, as defined by the ANA Code of Ethics involves the right of the individual to control their own body, actions, and personal information.

However, changes in attitude about DNA and Genomics are now leaping from science fiction to fact.

Science fiction films and stories use genetic science as the base bogeyman and then uses it in a relationship to much older and more universal lay concepts of heredity, consanguinity and reproduction or replication, and its equally close connection to widespread contemporary concerns about loss of individual identity, the religious concepts of ethics and the soul and whether or not a genetic miracle human can have any authenticity in a society increasingly dominated by technology and big business.

It is also interesting to note that when Adolph Hitler saw the film Metropolis with its super-dictator and its ranks of drone-like workers trudging like zombies with their heads shaved, he saw the future. He said, “Here is a man who can give us great Nazi films!” When the Nazis came to power several years later, Goebbels actually offered Fritz Lang the job of making propaganda films, in spite of the fact his mother was Jewish. “Mr. Lang, we decide who is Jewish and who is not,” Goebbels told him. Lang fled Germany that night.

Think about that for a moment – the state decides who is Jewish and who is not. They decide who is a thinker and who is a worker.

Hitler’s World Order demonstrated how eugenics directives creep into government and how they decide who is Latino, Asian or Middle Eastern, Black, or Jewish.

Among several proposed bills currently navigating the House floor is HR 1313, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, which, if passed, would impose penalties on employees who refuse to undergo genetic testing as part of wellness programs in their workplace. Right now, federal laws uphold citizens’ genetic privacy and protect against discrimination—but this new bill would make it possible for employers to slap a hefty fine on any employees unwilling to submit to gene testing.

Unfortunately this brings to mind another science fiction film, Gattaca, set in a future where your life is determined by your genetic code. The film follows a genetically imperfect man who impersonates another with better genes in order to get a job.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce overwhelmingly approved the bill, HR 1313, this past Wednesday. All 22 Republicans sitting on the committee voted for it. None of the 17 sitting Democrats voted for the bill.

The bill is expected to be wrapped up into a secondary ACA-related measure full of provisions that would not affect federal spending. As it is riding on the coattails of the effort to repeal and replace ACA, the current political environment effectively ensures Congress will vote the secondary measure into law.

What this will essentially do is abolish all existing laws that provide genetic privacy.

In specific, this bill targets the protections laid out by the 2008 GINA law, a genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law that prohibits employers from using genetic testing as a means to discriminate among “healthy” and “unhealthy” employees when it comes to underwriting health benefit packages. HR 1313 would create a loophole: if these tests are part of a “workplace wellness” program, the GINA law protections don’t apply.

Still, some GINA protections, such as employers’ inability to match worker names to the results of the genetic testing, will remain even if HR 1313 becomes law.

However, the secondary companies who run the workplace wellness programs will get those results, which include the employee’s name. Those companies can sell health information they “voluntarily” collect from employees who are often required to join those wellness programs lest they face stiff penalties.

Employers would then be able “to impose stiff financial penalties on employees who choose to keep such information private, thus empowering employers to coerce their employees into submitting to tests.

Should HR 1313 become law, corporations would have the information needed to permit contracted health insurance companies to charge individuals exponentially more for genetic predispositions to certain conditions, thus shifting costs from the company to the employee.

It’s hard to imagine a more sensitive type of personal information than your own genetic blueprints. With varying degrees of accuracy, the four-base code can reveal bits of your family’s past, explain some of your current traits and health, and may provide a glimpse into your future with possible conditions and health problems you could face. And that information doesn’t just apply to you but potentially your blood relatives, too.

Civil rights and genetic privacy advocates strongly opposed the bill. In a press release, Nancy Cox, PhD, president of the American Society of Human Genetics said:

“We urge the Committee not to move forward with consideration of this bill. As longtime advocates of genetic privacy, we instead encourage the Committee to pursue ways to foster workplace wellness and employee health without infringing upon the civil rights afforded by [Americans with Disabilities Act] and GINA.”

Genetic tests are a relatively new market and, so far, the FDA has chosen to sit on the sidelines as companies have taken advantage of rapidly advancing DNA technology to offer the public ever more sophisticated tests. That doesn’t mean the FDA isn’t paying attention—it has clearly been engaged in meetings with some of the companies it has now sent letters to—but it hadn’t previously come to the conclusion that the DTC tests were sufficiently health focused that they needed to have their performance and safety validated.

Newer more sophisticated tests are market ready.

Navigenics has product literature that makes very explicit health claims: “Our genetic analysis services uncover your genetic predispositions for important health conditions and medication sensitivities, and provide resources to help you and your doctor understand your genetic information as you develop personalized health strategies.”

Given the rapid advances in genetic information, every month, there are a plethora of Genome Wide Association Studies published that influence what we might consider the accuracy of genetic tests. Unless the FDA process also specifies flexible standards for accuracy, the action could have a chilling effect on the emerging market for genetic testing.

It’s unclear what companies have to gain by obtaining workers’ genetic information. Proponents say it could help companies control costs and improve employee health—but there doesn’t seem to be anything backing these claims.

This is only the beginning – and the future is somewhat of a biblical horror story as people worry that the mark of the beast is looming in their future.

DNA microchips are finding applications throughout the field of molecular biology. The chips provide a rapid method to analyze thousands of genes simultaneously. DNA chips are potentially a very powerful tool for gaining insight into the complexities of gene expression, detecting genetic variations, making new gene discoveries, genome fingerprinting and developing new diagnostic tools.

Chips using nucleic acids are produced using photolithography. Photolithography, according to the Science article by Stephen Fodor, consists of the modification of synthetic linkers, containing photo-chemically removable protecting groups, attached to a glass substrate, usually a silicon-derivative glass chip. Light is directed at the photolithographic “mask” at specific areas of the chip in order to facilitate the removal of the photoactive groups, yielding 5 hydroxy groups. These modified groups are now capable of binding other nucleotides, generating a highly specific probe, which contains the sequence of a known disease causing genetic mutation.

The other method, described in the DNA Chips and Microarrays website, uses purified single-stranded DNA from an individual with a known genetic disease, requiring the use of touch or fine liquids, to spot the DNA onto the surface of the chip.

The DNA immobilizes on the chip through covalent bonds, due to the positively charged surface, produced by amino silane or polylysine.

For both types of chips, a potential DNA target sequence, from an asymptomatic individual, is fluorescently tagged and allowed to interact with the probes. Hybridization will occur at complementary sequences between the two samples resulting in a fluorescent image, which is then scanned by a laser beam and analyzed by a computer. The intensity of fluorescent light varies with the strength of the hybridization, thus providing a quantitative ‘snapshot’ of gene expression.

This approach, requiring only minute consumption of chemical reagents and minute preparations of biological samples, can scan more than 400,000 probes placed on a single chip measuring 1.28cm X 1.28cm in size.

As of now, specific chips are available for as little as $100, but could cost over thousands of dollars, once custom-made chips are available. In the future, attempts to design chips using the computer, instead of doing it by hand, will greatly speed up the process allowing companies to make custom chips in one day, as opposed to months, which would lower the cost of production. Consequently, DNA chips could probably sell for about $50.

When cost goes down, a chip implant will be as easy and painless as a tattoo. It will also be more affordable than a smart phone and may be compatible with most phones in order to provide a DNA digital password. This way only you can operate your phone and have access to the information.

Raising serious ethical issues, the decision to have submit to a so-called genomics authority deserves careful preparation and thought. A natural division among all people, regarding specific issues, is to be either for or against the topic in discussion.

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