DNA, Dunkin' and Dingbats

December 16, 2014 4:22 PM

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In the heady days of the genomic dawn -- not all that long ago, really -- we dreamed of dominating our DNA. Our hopes -- born in retrospect of characteristic Homo sapien hubris -- ran to wrestling with wayward ribonucleic acids; tinkering with our telomeres; and in all ways that matter, getting genes to genuflect to the power of our science. We thought, in short, to find the causes and impose the cures for our prevailing ills within the twists and turns of that double helix.

We were wrong. Chronic diseases are not the result of one wayward gene; they are, inevitably, polygenic to the extent they are genetic at all. Even if they were ascribable to one gene gone awry -- we still, for the most part, don't know how to fix alleles we happen not to like. DNA accounts for who ...

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