Genetic Justice provides an accessible, yet exhaustive, review of this vital public policy issue. Many of us fail to appreciate that every time we discard a coffee cup, use a napkin, eat with a fork and spoon or otherwise interact with our environment, we leave a piece of ourselves behind. And that piece of ourselves—that DNA—can be used not just to discern our identity, but to provide clues on whether we’re likely to develop a particular disease, what we look like and where we come from. The physical trail of DNA can also be used to track our movements, and legal theories that permit the authorities to freely collect this “abandoned” DNA could theoretically make the warrant requirement and other checks on law enforcement abuse obsolete.
The issues raised by Genetic Justice may be complicated, but they are crucially important to our modern civil liberties. And, as the technology for analyzing DNA becomes smaller, faster and cheaper, these considerations just become more pressing. Genetic Justice provides a needed glimpse into that brave new world.