So, old deCODE Genetics, winner of Iceland’s Most Clever PR Campaign Ever*, has come up with an ingenious new strategy to drive up their share prices: deCODE Me, the Personal Genome Scan. The rock ‘n roll of genetics studies, if you will.
You have to admit it’s quite brilliant. For the nominal fee of USD 985 [or around ISK 60K] you’ll be sent a stick in the mail with which to take a swab of the inside of your cheek. You then mail this back to deCODE who will scan your sample for over a million variants in your genome. This will provide you with information about your genetic predisposition for developing a whole slew of diseases, not to mention endless family fun or, as the deCODE website suggests, “Invite friends and family, compare your genomes!” [Exclamation mark added by YT because they forgot.]
OK, so I’ll admit some people will find it useful to know if they’re, say, 87 percent more likely to develop Alzheimers than their next-door neighbour. They might even find it a matter of interest to see if some form of cancer is likely to come knocking on their door at some time in the future, and what they might do to prevent this. [Although since one in three people develop cancer during their lifetime you could probably save yourself the thousand bucks and figure that one out yourself.]
What concerns me, though, is the old self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean, isn’t there a risk that you’ll become so convinced of your propensity for, say, manflu, that you wind up getting it? And also that, if you’re always focusing on the possibility of disease and what you might do to prevent it, you’ll spend your time in fear and seriously diminish my quality of your life?
So far, around 60 people in Iceland have ordered their swab sticks [and are presumably holding family parties to compare their genomes as we speak]. Personally I think I’m going to hold onto my ISK 60K for now and just continue living the healthy life I live anyway, free from the looming threat of disease.
WE’RE NOT FREE FROM THE LOOMING THREAT OF A STORM, THOUGH
It started last night, and it’s still in effect for the rest of the day. We’ve had massive winds and last night as we were leaving the Reykjavík City Theatre [after watching the most incredibly affecting and moving play of my life, Dagur vonar, if you’re in Iceland and understand Icelandic, go see it] the rain was coming down in horizontal sheets. Right now there’s a hint of diffused sunlight out there but the trees and bushes are dancing and swaying like mad. Temps 6°C [43F], sunrise was at 10:42 am and sunset due for 3.50 pm.
* sez The Iceland Weather Report.