|Eugene Thacker on 13 Aug 2000 04:10:15 -0000|
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|[Nettime-bold] Participating in the Biotech Industry|
Participating in the Biotech Industry: Notes on the Gene Trust Eugene Thacker "Because the information you give us today will continue to make a difference for the generations to come." DNA Sciences, Inc. 1. Entrusting Your DNA This past month, DNA Solutions, Inc. announced the creation of the Gene Trust <http://www.dna.com>, the first, large-scale, organized DNA-sample bank. Based on a volunteer-basis, interested individuals can register and send in blood samples for DNA analysis and archiving. As an information-business, The Gene Trust will gather genetic samples from a range of individuals, with a range of medical conditions. Such information will help pharmaceutical companies and research laboratories to speed up the process of therapeutics, drug development, and clinical trials. The Gene Trust is enabled by many scientific, technological, and social factors. Most immediately, the two-fold effects of the human genome project (Celera Genomics) and the rise of telemedicine (websites such as WebMD), have paved the way for a more integrated approach to "infomedicine." The genome project not only reiterates the centrality of new technologies in science research, but it also reconfigures, in a more explicit manner, the ways in which molecular genetics is all about informatics. With the pragmatic emergence of bioinformatics, the genome project has shown the ways in which databases, online uploads/downloads, the data analysis software are quickly becoming the medical tools of the future. Such an emphasis on infotech is also behind the various attempts to instantiate, in practice, a telemedicine. But telemedicine is not only about the medical use of new computer and network technologies. It is also about transforming patient care and diagnosis, which means that, as an object of diagnosis and treatment, the patient is increasingly reduplicated by an electronic double - a patient data-file or dossier. While the remote physician is certainly concerned with looking at and examining the patient, telemedicine relies equally on the role which data extracted from the patient's body plays (through informational files or medical imaging technologies). 2. E-Profile The Gene Trust makes it easy to participate in the biotech industry. An interested individual undergoes a series of information-extraction procedures in order to composite a data-profile for the Gene Trust database. - Online registration (basic identification information) - Online health/medical information (basic health-related information) - Blood/DNA sample (locally-administered, shipped, then analyzed) - DNA sample analysis archiving (encoding and uploading) - Offering of local and online services (database access, personal and corporate services, genetic-medical services, etc.) What these procedures culminate in is a circulation of biological data.