Prologue
1 23andMe solicitation letter signed by A. Wojcicki, September 30, 2013. Copy on file
with author.
2 When the semester began, some professors objected to the experiment on grounds of
its violation of student privacy and for lacking an educational briefing on personalized
medicine. The data thus gathered from incoming freshmen was subsequently anony-
mized (for research?) and posted on a website forum. One finding (not new) is that
many students (e.g., Asian Americans) have a ge ne tic tendency to be lactose intolerant.
3 The Ge ne tic Information Nondiscrimination Act was passed in 2008, but personal
dna information is commercially available.
4 By 2015, 23andMe deci ded to strengthen its health component by teaming up with
drug com pany Genentech to use the database for finding therapeutic targets for
Parkinson’s disease.
5 In actuality, the National Institute of Health (nih) has created a new American
model of socially robust medicine that links academic research in drug discovery
and state investments in public infrastructure and commercial companies. A new
2015 “precision medicine initiative” will provide funds for collecting the ge ne tic
data from one million American patients.
6 See Guyer, “Prophesy and the Near Future,” and Fischer, Anthropological Futures.
7 “Enigma” was the name of the coding machine used by Germans during the Sec-
ond World War for enciphering and deciphering secret messages.
8 Traweek, Beamtimes and Lifetimes.
9 Lock, Encounters with Aging, and Twice Dead.
10 Kleinman, Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture.
11 Cohen, No Aging in India.
12 Sunder Rajan, Biocapital.
13 Cohen, “Operability, Bioavailability, and Exception”; Scheper- Hughes, “The Last
Commodity”; Wilson, “Medical Tourism in Thailand”; and Vora, Life Support.
NOTES
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