February 2016 Editorial Winner

23andMe, the FDA, and Me
Ed Lebeau III, Drumright Gusher

A few weeks ago, AncestryDNA had a special on genetic testing, and I have wanted to do that for quite some time.
In particular, I wanted to see if I had any indication of Native American ancestry. I guess it is one of those peculiarities of living in Oklahoma with its high percentage of people who can trace their roots to peoples who were in this country long before the white man ever showed up.
I hoped that somewhere during the 300 or more years my ancestors were here in the “New World” that some Native American genes had found their way into my family tree.
So I succumbed and signed up.
When the results arrived via email yesterday, I excitedly clicked my way through to the results, rather as if I was slowly opening the envelope containing the winner of the Academy Awards or Miss America contest. I can’t say that I was totally surprised by the results, but puzzled that I am not anywhere near as French as I am Irish.
In the estimation of AncestryDNA I am 53% Irish. Italy/Greece accounted for 14%, Europe West 13%, and 11% English thrown in for good measure. Then there were trace regions. The biggest one was 6% Iberian Peninsula which squares nicely with my 1/16 Spanish ancestry that I am well aware of.
I posted this on our family’s closed Google Group, and not long after there was a detailed response from one of my many cousins about his experience with genetic testing.
He has been plagued with medical problems and works supporting the medical field.
He had his testing done before the FDA moved to prohibit genetic testing providers like 23andMe from providing any medically relevant genetic information.
He then went on to explain that 23andMe worked long and hard to get the FDA to again permit such medically relevant genetic information but that there were still many restrictions.
His own tests were done before the original FDA restrictions.
Today, not even physicians have access to as complete a readout as my cousin has at his disposal.
So let’s get this straight.
The Food and Drug Administration has the power to tell a private company that they can only provide limited medically relevant medical information to their private clientele?
How so? By what right?
Let’s be clear. Anyone who tells me that this is a free country is delusional. Period! This is NOT a free country.
I have no idea what the reasoning is behind the FDA’s decision, but whatever it is, it is hogwash.
It is hogwash perpetrated by arrogant bastards who KNOW that they are smarter than we the people, and that we should remain as ignorant as possible while they direct our medical care.
To tell me that I am not worthy to obtain medically relevant information about my own genetic makeup is to tell me that I am not a free man. I am owned by something called the State which has the right by some nefarious means to tell me what information about my genetic makeup I can and can’t have.
In that respect, I have something I can share with Native Americans. Just as their Liberty was stolen by our government so many years ago, my Liberty (and yours) has been increasingly curtailed particularly as it applies to health issues. When it comes to health care, I am but another number in the system.
And by the way, the results indicated that I am 100% European. As we become more and more the property of the State, the only thing I can share with my Native American friends and acquaintances is a distrust of our Federal Government, for I probably don’t have even one red corpuscle of Native American blood coursing through my veins.

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