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Story Publication logo September 25, 2017

To Know or Not to Know What Our Genes Predict About Our Future

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The view from inside the sculpture of a double helix DNA located in DeCode Genetics’ headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Image by Anna Clausen. Iceland, 2017.
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Genetic scientists in Iceland want to warn 2,400 people who are more likely than others to develop...

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A researcher at biopharmaceutical company DeCode Genetics labels blood samples that are kept on ice. Image by Anna M. Clausen. Iceland, 2017.
A researcher at biopharmaceutical company DeCode Genetics labels blood samples that are kept on ice. Image by Anna M. Clausen. Iceland, 2017.

An Icelandic biopharmaceutical company says it can save hundreds of lives with the press of a button. The company maintains that it has the ability to map out every single Icelander who has a BRCA gene mutation.

Such mutations have been linked to a severely increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Knowing about the mutation gives carriers the opportunity potentially to save themselves from much suffering—and maybe even escape death.

There's only one problem.

Pressing the button is illegal.

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