On November 19, 2007, I wrote an article — 23andMe and the Ticking Timebomb Within — wondering about the new DNA testing service started by Sergey Brin’s wife.  On September 18, 2008, Sergey Brin started a new blog revealing his 23andMe genetic profile suggested a predestiny for Parkinson’s disease.  

Here is what I argued in my article:

Should this sort of human genome project ever be a privatized
for-profit venture — Anne Wojcicki,
wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin heads up the effort and Google
invested in the company — or should our DNA and genetic secrets be
released free-of-charge into a world database for disinterested
inspection by anyone and everyone without having to first pay a fee for
a look-see into the demise of our private tomorrows?

I now wonder if Sergey’s want to see 23andMe live was so he could have his own private, and then public, reckoning with his predisposition for Parkinson’s?

Do we always spend our money in altruistic ways?

Or do we sometimes invest in other people’s public dreams so that we may whittle away our own, lurking, private, demons?


  1. Very interesting connections, David. It sure is interesting how the company helped the guy find out.

  2. That’s it, Anne. Invest here — benefit there — beyond the dividends! SMILE! Would you want to know your genetic markers for disease, Anne?

  3. No thanks. I’d be worried over finding the cure. If there’s a cure when I find out, then I use it. If there’s no cure then there’s no worry as the end comes, David.

  4. Maybe if it were possible to ask as such: only tell me if it is curable / preventable. If it isn’t curable, I’d rather not know.

  5. It’s super to see you over here, Gordon! I like that thinking. “I want to know so I can get fixed, but if there’s no way to set it right, let me go.” There might be, however, a sort of want to know the end is coming so you can make proper plans. Paul Newman knew he was dying for several months and took a “final tour” of all his favorite spots one last time and to also say goodbye to all his friends. Now that’s a beautiful way to end a life.

  6. Nice to be here, David. 🙂 I have to agree with you on making final plans. We even have a tradition that Jacob our forefather prayed for there to be illness so that people could know ahead of time that they were going to die rather than just suddenly dropping dead!

  7. Gordon! I like that tradition a lot. Making amends. Saying goodbye. Finalizing the plans for your life. The unforeseen accident and the instant killing allows no room for healing or final pleas or for expressing forgiveness.

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