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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
When a geneticist friend learned that Angrist, an assistant professor at Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, had volunteered to participate in the first phase of Harvard University's 2009 Genome Project (which makes the genome of its participants public), he asked, "Why in God's name would you want to do that?" Here is a Human Being is Angrist's answer. The Project will ultimately create a publicly-accessible database matching the genotypes of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to their observable physical characteristics (phenotypes), providing an invaluable resource for health providers and researchers in understanding genetic vulnerabilities to a variety of diseases and conditions, and also opening the door to several potential hazards (ineligibility for life insurance; identity theft; the psychological consequences of bad genetic news). But for Angrist and nine other geneticists chosen for the initial phase, the scientific benefits outweighed any personal implications. His family supported his decision and Angrist, a Pushcart Prize winner, offers an account of his experience with clear explanations of the science involved and page-turning suspense about the frontiers of genetic research.
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