LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘What’s in Your DNA?’

To the Editor:

While the prospect of a “free” 23andMe DNA test might help to draw students to the biology department’s “Personal Genomics and Medicine” course, The Sun’s coverage of this attraction raises far more questions than answers. The March 25 article states that the course aims to “demystify genetics and genetic science.” I’d argue that currently available genetic tests like 23andMe actually do the opposite. Instead of simply revealing a genetic blueprint to the user, direct-to-consumer genetic tests are riddled with social, political and ethical questions, turning the results into more than objective “data.”

The article briefly raises the question of privacy, but this is not enough. How are these technologies regulated? Who owns the data, and what can they do with it?

MORADI | CS Needs an Ethics Requirement

Here’s a frightening proposition for this recruiting season: Cornell’s computer science undergraduates are woefully underprepared for careers in tech. Cornell’s CS undergrads are bright and technically apt. They learn from some of the best minds in the field, and they score some of the most coveted positions in the industry. It’s not that these future developers can’t solve the problems put forth before before them. It’s that they often have no idea what the problems are in the first place.

Monkey Cloning Sparks Ethical Concerns, Profs say

Meet Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two cloned macaque monkeys. Chinese scientists first unveiled these monkeys several weeks ago, marking the first time primates have been successfully cloned with the same method that created Dolly the sheep in 1996. Just as it did then, the science research community instantly raised ethical questions and concerns about human cloning. Theoretically, human cloning could be achieved in two ways. Reproductive human cloning would entail creating a living human, identical to another person previously or currently alive.

Pollack Addresses Increasing Enrollment in Computer Science Classes

President Martha Pollack answered questions from members of Cornell’s computer science community on her academic interests and vision for the computing and information sciences department on Monday. With the number of students enrolled in computer science classes increasing every year, members in the audience raised the issue of the lack of small CS classes that encourage greater interaction between professors and students. Assuaging some of these concerns, Pollack said the CIS department has been given the authority to hire more faculty. However, she also acknowledged that this problem is faced by most institutions across the country. “The problem is everyone wants to do that and I don’t have an easy solution,” Pollack said.