Does the government have your baby’s DNA?

by on February 4, 2010 · 7 comments

Here’s a rather disturbing article published by CNN today.  Apparently, many “states mandate that newborns be tested for anywhere between 28 and 54 different conditions, and the DNA samples are stored in state labs for anywhere from three months to indefinitely, depending on the state.”

I live in California and we did have our baby tested for various genetic conditions before he was born.  It wasn’t mandated by the state, but now I wonder what happened to the samples after they were collected.

Here’s more from the CNN article:

In many states, such as Florida, where Isabel was born, babies’ DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center.  Many parents don’t realize their baby’s DNA is being stored in a government lab, but sometimes when they find out, as the Browns did, they take action. Parents in Texas, and Minnesota have filed lawsuits, and these parents’ concerns are sparking a new debate about whether it’s appropriate for a baby’s genetic blueprint to be in the government’s possession.

  • http://techliberation.com/author/berinszoka/ Berin Szoka

    Sounds like yet another example of government collecting data for no clear reason. This sort of mandatory retention is the kind of thing “privacy advocates” should be trying to stop rather than blocking the retention of data in situations where the consumer who originally provided the data actually benefits from a quid-pro-quo, like targeted advertising.

  • mwendy

    Our children, born in 2002 and 2007 (both in DC), both had DNA drawn. There were reasons, which I don't fully remember (it's the least of one's concerns, for obvious reasons) – like AIDS, HEP C, something. It has always disturbed me that that information is out there, being used.

    As we enter the brave new world of US-provided healthcare, there will be more of this. One will not be able to draw benefits unless blood / DNA gets drawn from the recipient of those benefits. HIT will traffic in that, and that information will be going to government officials for ostensibly beneficent purposes.

    This sounds paranoid, but information like this (which bears so directly on government costs, and benefits) cannot be contained.

  • http://srynas.blogspot.com/ Steve R.

    What continues to be disturbing, why are there no similar posts on the TLF exposing the abuses of private sector in collecting “private” data? If the government collects data that it shouldn't, the TLF is correct in exposing it; but the same standard should be applied to inappropriate data collection by the private sector.

    Recently, I stumbled across “A Lasting Gift to Medicine That Wasn't Really a Gift”. published in the New York Times. This article concerns how some in the medical profession are patenting “stuff” taken from patients, in some cases without the patient's permission. So how does the medical profession derive a “right” to take something from a patient without their permission, claim it as their own property, patent it, and commercialize it???????

    In fact, I would advocate that this is even more egregious than the government government collecting private since it approach theft in concept. The logical extreme being: if I want to commercialize something and I don't have ownership, I am allowed to steal it!

  • http://srynas.blogspot.com/ Steve R.

    What continues to be disturbing, why are there no similar posts on the TLF exposing the abuses of private sector in collecting “private” data? If the government collects data that it shouldn't, the TLF is correct in exposing it; but the same standard should be applied to inappropriate data collection by the private sector.

    Recently, I stumbled across “A Lasting Gift to Medicine That Wasn't Really a Gift”. published in the New York Times. This article concerns how some in the medical profession are patenting “stuff” taken from patients, in some cases without the patient's permission. So how does the medical profession derive a “right” to take something from a patient without their permission, claim it as their own property, patent it, and commercialize it???????

    In fact, I would advocate that this is even more egregious than the government government collecting private data (including DNA) since it approaches theft in concept. It also raises extremely troubling issue that natural products (such as DNA) are inappropriately being patented. The government collection of DNA may be wrong, but at least I won't find out that some medical group patented my DNA and the doctor won't treatment me because that would constitute patent infringement!!!!

    Cancer Patients Challenge the Patenting of a Gene. The portion of the Times article referencing Harry Ostrer (director of the human genetics program at the New York University School of Medicine) states “that many laboratories could perform the BRCA tests faster than Myriad, and for less money than the more than $3,000 the company charged. … But if he tried to offer such services today, he said, he would be risking a patent infringement lawsuit from Myriad.”

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  • http://www.roundaboutkidsbabypouches.com/ Baby Pouches

    What will the government do with those DNA's? What is their purpose?

  • http://www.roundaboutkidsbabypouches.com/ Baby Pouches

    What will the government do with those DNA's? What is their purpose?

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