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 <>, 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.