When It Comes to Your Genes, How Much is Too Much Information?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/blueridgekitties/3883646277/">BlueRidgeKitties</a>/Flickr

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Would you want to know if you are at risk of developing a life-threatening disease? What if it’s totally incurable? What if there’s only a 5 percent chance it would even happen in your lifetime? On Tuesday, an ethics group at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge launched a site designed to wrestle with exactly these types of moral questions quickly cropping up due to the increased prevalence of gene sequencing.

If you are a volunteer in a medical study, for example, and have handed over a spit sample of DNA, the survey tries to determine what responsibility researchers have to let you know if they discover something sticky you may not know about along the way. The survey (chock full of images of “scientists” very seriously pipetting) is designed to crowd-source the data collection process in hopes of gauging broad public attitudes towards genomic testing; the eventual goal is to help inform emerging public policies on the issue. And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself super science-literate—the questions are all designed to hit pretty close to home. The harder part will be figuring out how you really feel about knowing what’s in the cards for you.

How much would you really like to know? Visit http://www.genomethics.org to fill out the survey.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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