Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The DNA-rights issue is here already...in the NBA 

I loved the movie Gattaca and its view of a high-achieving future in which anyone's path in life can be all but mapped out by the results of their genetic analysis at birth. But I didn't really expect to see the legal intricacies of that Gattaca future closing in on us already, especially not in the NBA of all places:

The Bulls first asked Curry to undergo DNA testing in the spring when it was suggested by Minneapolis-based cardiologist Barry Maron as a way of determining whether the arrhythmia Curry suffered before a game at Charlotte March 30 was benign or a sign of a more serious condition.

Curry refused and was cleared to play in late June by Los Angeles-based cardiologist David Cannom.

But the NBA's insurance carrier refused to insure Curry's heart.

Paxson believes the DNA test would go a long way in removing doubt by determining whether Curry is genetically disposed to cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal condition when combined with arrhythmia.

But Alan Milstein, a lawyer handling the matter for Curry, made it clear his client has no interest in taking a DNA test -- and disputes Paxson's claim that the Bulls would have a right to demand the test.

'Based on multiple state privacy laws and parenthetical federal employment laws, the Bulls have no right to demand that Eddy take the [DNA] test,' Milstein said. 'If employers had such a right, they could require prospective employees to take tests for all sorts of pre-dispositions -- to such things as cancer and alcoholism -- and then base hiring decisions on the results from such tests.'
You never know, they might just settle all of this quietly, pay to make it go away. But there is a lot of money riding on the specific ordering of a few amino acid base-pairs, not to mention questions of who carries the responsibility for the genetically identified risks to a man's life.

Even average, non-lawerly basketball fans see a lot of ways for this one to eventually end up in the courts where they wear suits and ties. One fan is even ready for a Gattaca-style full hoover:

Why don't they just take his hair brush to the lab and get it over with. They do this all the time on Law & Order. Sheesh.
I hope John Roberts has a few biology textbooks in his library, and Gattaca on video.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: